Fuel duty freeze welcomed but oil firms call for more support

Caitlin Morrison
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FUEL duty remains frozen at 58p per litre for petrol and diesel, the level it has been at since 2011.

Yesterday’s Autumn Statement saw George Osborne keep fuel duty at the same rate for the seventh time. He told Parliament: “Despite falling fuel prices let me make this clear: we’ve cut fuel duty and we will keep it frozen.”

Osborne’s statement further revealed that the price based trigger point for changes to fuel duty, set by the Fair Fuel Stabiliser in 2011, will be abolished.

David Bizley, chief engineer at the RAC, said: “With fuel duty already frozen until May 2015, we had feared an early return to the fuel duty escalator system... It appears that is not going to be the case.”

Meanwhile energy firms have called for more action to support trade in the North Sea, in the face of continued oil price decline.

Osborne outlined plans for a reduction in tax on firms in the region, and the introduction of an allowance to encourage exploration in certain “clusters”.

But Roman Webber, of Deloitte, said: “The changes are estimated to give the industry a tax boost of about £90m a year over the next five years, but given that the upstream direct tax revenues are expected to be £2.8bn in the year to 31 March 2015 alone, this is only a small step.”