Will we escape a 3p fuel duty rise (at least until April)?

fuel duty rise

fuel duty riseThe government plans to give us all a late (and unwelcome) Christmas present by hiking petrol and diesel prices by 3p a litre in January. But can the price increase be stopped?

Labour are to force a vote in Parliament today, urging MPs to postpone the rise for at least three months.

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls has had the balls to speak out about the tax increase (which we’re all dreading), suggesting it be put back

He believes that this delay to the fuel duty rise could be funded by getting tougher on tax avoidance schemes, which are estimated to cost the country over £650 million a year.

Mr Balls made the comment on the PoliticsHome website, saying that: “At a time when the cost of living is rising, our recovery is fragile and this out of touch government is giving 8,000 millionaires a tax cut, it cannot be right to hit middle and low income families and small businesses with another tax increase.”

One thing’s for sure – as night follows day, January will bring rail and bus fare increases (not to mention Child Benefit cuts). So capping petrol price rises would be a rare bit of good news for commuters and motorists.

Already drivers are paying a record 81p to the Treasury for every litre of fuel we buy.

That means that for every £30 we pay for petrol, about £18 goes to the taxman in fuel duty and VAT. Only £12 covers the cost of the fuel (including £1 for the petrol station).

Campaign group FairFuelUK claims that the rise in January could lead to 35,000 job losses and hit economic growth.

So now Chancellor George Osborne is feeling the heat (with a Commons motion being brought to the table on Monday from Labour) we can hope that with support from Conservative backbenchers, the increase will be postponed until April. This would then be confirmed in Osborne’s autumn statement on 5 December.

What are your thoughts? It’s happened once before when the duty increase was postponed in June – should it be delayed again, or should it be scrapped altogether?