December 22 2014 Latest news:
By RICHARD WOOD
Thursday, December 6, 2012
Chancellor George Osborne gave a little Christmas cheer to motorists yesterday as he scrapped plans to raise fuel duty.
Families and business owners across the region are set to benefit after Mr Osborne announced that the January 3p-per-litre rise in fuel duty would no longer take place.
He also said that a further increase in April would be moved to September, as he promised that there would only “inflation-only” rises from next year.
This was warmly welcomed by rural campaigners, MPs and business owners, who had made calls for the increase to be abandoned.
Peter Brown, managing director of Jack Richards and Son Road Transport, based in Fakenham, said that the rise would have made a big impact on the business as fuel makes up 40pc of its total costs, amounting to around £180,000 a week.
He said: “We as a business are absolutely delighted because fuel costs have been hurting us and our customers’ businesses.
“We are delighted that it has been held off to give us the chance to work in a more stable environment.”
Edward Miles, managing director of Freight Force Distribution, of Norwich, said that while it was warmly received, the government were not suffering from the move.
“The current high cost of fuel means the government receives a total income of 81p per litre,” he said.
“I believe the government forecasts that fuel prices will not drop and therefore they are already recovering the planned 3p-per-litre levy increase through VAT recoveries.”
Figures from the treasury say that running costs for 3.6 million cars in the east of England will be saved following the decision, helping the typical motorist by £40 a year.
Jon Clemo, chief executive of the Norfolk Rural Community Council, said: “In rural areas people are so dependent on cars any rise in fuel has a disproportionate effect.
“Three pence per litre when you cover a number of miles for work and basic services can really be significant over the course of a month.”
However, Mr Clemo said that more long-term solutions were needed to help ease car dependency in rural areas.
Tim Barnes-Clay, of the Country Land and Business Association, added that those in rural areas also suffered from higher prices with fewer petrol stations, making it particularly welcome news.
Waveney MP Peter Aldous and South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss spoke of their delight at the announcement after lobbying the government.
Mr Aldous said: “The chancellor has listened to hard working families and businesses such as those in Waveney who will be relieved not to have to face this additional tax burden.”
Ms Truss added: “This has been an ongoing concern for farmers, hauliers, local businesses and households and one that I have been lobbying the chancellor on for some time.
“In the run-up to Christmas when household budgets are stretched, today’s announcement will be extremely welcome.”
There may also be good news for the region after the government said it will consider asking the European Union to approve an extension of a rural fuel rebate to remote parts of the UK.
It currently allows some islands to benefit from a 5p discount.
Plunging oil prices will have a damaging effect on the region’s energy sector, but the impact will be more keenly felt in Scotland, industry experts have warned.