Fuel price freeze welcomed

Pasties, static caravans, charities and now fuel: clearly if we make enough fuss about a new tax, the government runs away and hides. FairFuelUK, the campaign backed by the Freight Transport Association (FTA) which has been lobbying the Government for the past year in order to stop planned fuel duty increases has welcomed the “delay” in the fuel duty rise.

James Hookham of the FTA said: ” It went down to the political equivalent of penalties, but this time the public and businesses have got something to celebrate! The Chancellor now sees the merits of using fuel duty cuts to stimulate growth by keeping cash within businesses. The government needs to engage in a national debate about the role of fuel taxation in the economy and we urge the Chancellor to seize this opportunity.”

Having frozen the tax rise once, it could be hard for the Chancellor to bring it in next January as planned, unless the cost of fuel drops significantly between now and then. However, if they do freeze it again, they may want to plan a bit further ahead. On yesterday’s Newsnight, a hapless government minister, Chloe Smith was trying to explain why the government had ruled out a freeze two days ago and was now bringing it in. It was all part of a careful plan, apparently. “Is this some sort of joke?” was Jeremy Paxman’s terse response.

In the meantime, if you happen to know a Cornish caravan park owner with a big car to fuel, ask him to get the drinks in from now on: he has had about one tax concession a month since the Budget.