3p fuel duty rise may be scrapped

  • Backbench MPs threaten revolt over rise
  • Calls for January and August rise to be axed
  • Petition signed by more than 100,000 motorists

The plan to increase fuel duty by 3p a litre could be scrapped if a revolt led by Tory backbenchers gathers pace.

MPs will be voting on a motion calling for the fuel price rise to be ditched for a price stabilisation mechanism that's designed to iron out massive fluctuations in the price of fuel.

So far more than 100 MPs, including 83 Conservatives, have signed the motion following a public petition which was signed by more than 100,000 motorists.

The petition also called for a planned fuel duty rise in August to be scrapped, and for the Government to do more to urge oil companies to reduce their prices.

The Government finds itself in a tricky situation: although it needs to more revenue to balance the country’s precarious books, it doesn’t want another uprising following the backbench rebellion on the EU referendum vote last month.

According to Conservative backbencher Rob Halfon, who secured the vote in the Commons, the Government is planning to employ a three-line whip. It's a strict command to attend and vote, which is intended to try to and keep disgruntled Tories in line and get them to back the 3p duty rise.

He said: "I have been astonished by the level of support (for the motion). It is crucifying people across the country. Most people have no choice but to fill up their car or van with fuel. They depend on it for their daily existence." 

"That is why we need a cut in fuel duty for millions of hard-working motorists and families. We must show that tax cuts are for the many, not the few. We need no new fuel taxes in this Parliament. The duty rises that are planned for January and August 2012 must be scrapped, and the Government needs to pressure the oil companies to keep prices down.”

Filling an average fuel tank, of around 55-litres, costs approximately £73.58 based on a price of 133.79 pence per litre of unleaded. An additional 3p a litre would see you spending an extra £1.65 per tank.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said. "We recognise as a government that motoring is an essential part of everyday life for many families and fuel is a significant cost for those families. When it comes to future policy on fuel duty, that is a matter for the chancellor. We don't set out tax policy ahead of budgets. We set it out in budgets."

The Times newspaper has reported, however, that Downing Street is in fact considering scrapping the planned 3p rise in fuel duty.