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Sun, 5 April 2020

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Boris Johnson facing Tory rebellion as Chancellor mulls fuel duty hike

Boris Johnson facing Tory rebellion as Chancellor mulls fuel duty hike
2 min read

Boris Johnson has been warned that he faces a Tory backbench rebellion if fuel duty is increased in next month's Budget.

According to reports, Chancellor Rishi Sunak is considering the possibility of putting an extra 2p on a litre in order to raise cash for other spending priorities.

The move would also be welcomed by the environmental lobby as they try to slash the amount of fossil fuels used in the UK.

Fuel duty has been frozen for nearly a decade, with former Chancellors George Osborne and Philip Hammond both refusing to put it up in successive Budgets.

Conservative MPs have warned that any move to end the freeze would hammer drivers and damage the party's attempts to woo the blue collar vote.

They plan to write to the Treasury setting out their concerns and urging the Government to think again.

Jack Lopresti, the Conservative MP for Filton & Bradley Stoke in Bristol, told The Times: "This would hit people, particularly in rural communities, outside towns and cities and in many parts of the country where we won seats for the first time in the election.

"We all believe that we need to put significant investment in public transport infrastructure but until that happens we should not be considering raising duty."

Writing for the same paper, former minister Robert Halfon said: "I am optimistic that this will be a government for workers. Let’s not whack normal folk hard with higher taxes on fuel - especially after the strong record over the past ten years in freezing fuel duty and saving drivers on average £1,000 a year."

Howard Cox of the Fair Fuel UK campaign said: "We’ve been warned that even if it doesn’t happen this year it is back on the agenda and we need to start lobbying again.

"We don’t just want them to continue with the freeze but to cut petrol duty. We are not against clean air - all our members want that but taxes and bans are not the way of achieving that."

Rishi Sunak will deliver his first Budget as Chancellor on 11 March.

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