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Plan for 2p-a-litre fuel tax rise to be scrapped

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 06, 2013

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The pressure on hard-pressed rural motorists has been eased slightly as Chancellor George Osborne scrapped a 2p-a-litre fuel tax rise.

Mr Osborne had first announced at this autumn's Conservative Party conference that the 2014 rise would be cancelled – but only if this was financially possible.

Countryside residents in the region are more reliant on a car than urban counterparts given the parlous state of rural public transport.

The freeze was among a slew of measures to tackle the so-called "cost of living crisis".

Among the heavily trailed "giveaways" were an income tax allowance transfer for married and civil partnership couples worth £200 a year, free school meals for infants to save around £400 a year, and reform of energy bills to knock almost £50 off.

Mel Stride, Conservative MP for Central Devon, said: "This was an important statement for my constituents, especially the freeze in fuel duty which will save £11 every time my constituents fill up compared with what it would have been under Labour plans. In remote rural areas fuel prices really matter."

In the House of Commons, Oliver Colvile, Conservative MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, welcomed the Chancellor's pledge to spare councils from another round of Whitehall budget cuts, and said it was reminder to local authorities that they "no longer need to increase council tax".

Mr Osborne replied: "If his council does not deliver a council tax freeze, he can ask Labour why it is putting up the cost of living for his constituents."

But Alison Seabeck, Labour MP for Plymouth Moor View, said: "The Chancellor spoke of economic recovery and improved predictions for future growth, however this simply is not being felt by thousands of Plymouth families who are experiencing higher prices to heat their homes, stagnant wages and have a Chancellor who fails to stand up for them, and sides with the rich."

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