Autumn Budget 2017: Fuel duty frozen again to chagrin of green campaigners

Alys Key
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The 2017 Budget - Preparation
Fuel duty has now been frozen for the longest period in 40 years (Source: Getty)

The chancellor announced yet another freeze on fuel duty today, keeping the tax the same for the longest period for 40 years.

Cancelling April's planned rise, Philip Hammond said: "Since 2010, we will have saved the average car driver £850, and the average van driver over £2,100, compared to Labour’s escalator plans."

Peter Williams, head of external affairs at the RAC, welcomed the move, but said the chancellor could have gone further: "Drivers already contribute more than £27bn a year to the Treasury from fuel duty receipts, and we’d have liked to see the Chancellor commit to no further rises this parliament."

Read more: Budget: Crackdown on diesel as drivers face higher taxes

But the decision attracted criticism from green campaigners. Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas tweeted that the policy undermined commitments to clean air.

Peter Dixon, senior economist at Commerzbank, argued there was also an economic case for raising the tax, saying that "by pursuing the policy of corporate tax cuts and refusing to uprate fuel duties in line with inflation, there is some low-hanging fiscal fruit to be picked if he is serious about closing the fiscal gap."

Meanwhile Ashley Seager, co-founder of the Intergenerational Federation, said of the fuel duty freeze: "The lack of ambition is breath-taking."

Read more: Asda fuels supermarket price war with 2p per litre petrol cut

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