Rishi Sunak under pressure as Tories demand urgent action over surging fuel costs

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A considerable size of the parliamentary party has signed a letter to the Chancellor urging him to slash fuel duty in next week’s Spring Statement. The rate of fuel duty has been frozen for the past 12 years in spite of inflation, but MPs now believe there is a need to go further.

Heavy-hitters including former Cabinet ministers David Davis and Robert Jenrick are asking for the Treasury to cut the rate.

It comes after the price of fuel at the pump hit record highs last Sunday.

The average cost of a litre of petrol at UK forecourts on Sunday was 163.5p, while diesel was 173.4p.

With households across the UK already grappling with a cost of living crisis due to raging inflation and soaring energy bills, 53 Tories have warned Mr Sunak the cost of owning a car is rapidly becoming “unaffordable for millions”.

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Well respected Conservative MP Robert Halfon, who organised the letter, warned of a “de facto lockdown” whereby families are stuck at home due to being unable to fill up their tank.

“We’re heading to a de facto lockdown where parents can’t afford to take their kids to school, where workers can’t afford to commute by car and have to stay at home,” he told The Sun.

The letter signed by the MPs stated: “The 12-year fuel duty freeze, which has saved motorists £15 every time they fill up, is extremely welcome.

“But the current circumstances mean the government must go further by either cutting fuel duty or reducing VAT on fuel.”

Tories argue that the rise in costs has led to the Government making more money from the tax fuel.

They say that given the unexpected increased revenue, ministers can afford to now cut the rate.

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Jake Berry, who chairs the influential Northern Research Group of Conservative MPs, said fuel duty and the mileage recovery rates that determines the amount of fuel per mile an employee can expense without paying tax must be revisited.

He said: “When the Chancellor thinks about his spring statement coming up, will he not only look at cutting fuel duty, but also look at mileage recovery rates.

“They have been at 45 pence per mile for over a decade, now is the time to put them up to 60 at least.”

While refusing to be drawn on any measures he may announce next week, Mr Sunak pledged to “bear in mind” the suggestions.

Speaking at the Conservatives’ spring forum in Blackpool today he promised to continue to help struggling Britons however possible.

“I have enormous sympathy for what people are going through at the moment and that’s why we will always be there to help make a difference where we can,” Mr Sunak said.

“I can’t solve every problem, no government can solve every problem, particularly when you are grappling with global inflationary forces – they are somewhat out of my control.

He added: “Where we can make a difference, of course I can – I’m always going to do that, we’ve done it over the last two years.”



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