Rishi Sunak urged to AXE hated National Insurance hike in new budget announcement

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Mr Sunak appeared to hint at help ahead of his so-called “mini-Budget” with measures to help motorists reeling from record forecourt prices expected to be unveiled on Wednesday. The Chancellor could temporarily cut fuel duty by 5p per litre in a bid to help families and businesses struggling with the cost of living crisis.

Figures from data firm Experian Catalist show the average price of a litre of fuel at UK forecourts on Sunday was 167p for petrol and 179p for diesel.

This is an increase of 18p for petrol and 26p for diesel over the past month.

Households are also bracing for the impact of a 1.25 percentage point increase in national insurance contributions due to start in April.

Mr Farage tweeted: “Rumours mount that @RishiSunak will cut fuel duty and raise national insurance. Why not keep it simple and scrap the NI rise?”

Another Twitter user urged Mr Sunak to delay the national insurance rise for a year and scrap fuel duty.

They warned: “I fear this will be the end of the Tories if he does as little as possible to help people.”

A third Twitter user scoffed: “5p reduction in fuel duty is nothing but a token gesture.”

Another fumed: “[A] 5p reduction on fuel is an insult when fuel is 60 pence per litre too expensive.”

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Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said on a visit to Stevenage that the public want to know the Government hears them and that it is going to do something about it.

He said: “I think the simple things are a windfall tax on oil and gas companies who’ve made more profit than they expected, use that to bring down energy bills, and don’t introduce this new tax – national insurance tax. Wrong tax at the wrong time.

“If the Government is going to actually do something about fuel duties, then, of course, we will support that because I think, for most people, this is such a difficult situation.”

It comes as Britain’s FTSE 100 closed higher on Monday with surging oil prices boosting energy stocks.

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However, concerns about inflation and several broker downgrades kept a check on its overall gain.

The commodity-heavy index rose 0.5 percent, hitting its highest level in more than two weeks, driven by gains in Shell and BP which both gained about 4.1 percent.

Labour argued on Monday that working pensioners may be almost £1,500 worse off over the next two years.

The party used an Opposition Day debate in the Commons on Monday to argue that pensioners face a triple whammy of rising bills, real-term cuts to the state pension and the national insurance levy.

It said a worker earning the average salary for over 60s, on a full state pension and liable to pay the health and social care levy from 2023-24, will see a real-term reduction in their income of £771 in 2022-23 and £622 in 2023-24, amounting to £1,393 over two years.

Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “Instead of protecting pensioner incomes as Boris Johnson promised, the Tories are cutting the state pension and clobbering pensioners in work with a tax rise, leaving them worse off by an eye-watering £1,400.”

“It’s daylight robbery and Boris Johnson has betrayed retired people.”

“Pensioner poverty is increasing, with older people facing impossible choices between eating and heating. The upcoming [national insurance contributions] rise should be halted this week and action should be taken to reduce energy bills by hundreds of pounds for those who need help – as Labour has proposed.”

A Government spokesperson said: “We recognise the pressures people are facing with the cost of living, which is why we’re providing support worth £21 billion this financial year and next to help. This includes freezing fuel duties to keep costs down and helping households with their energy bills through our £9.1 billion Energy Bills Rebate.”

They added that the Government’s Winter Fuel Payments are also supporting more than 11 million pensioners with their energy bills.

The spokesperson said: “[W]e are continuing to encourage those eligible for Pension Credit, and the wide range of other benefits it can provide, to make a claim.”



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