MOTORISTS cheered yesterday, as an increasingly influential wing of the Conservative party convinced the chancellor to scrap a planned 3p per litre rise in petrol duty for good.
This was the biggest victory yet for a loose collective of Tory MPs, many representing marginal constituencies in the south east of England, who want the government to do more to reduce the cost of living for working class voters.
Last night anti-fuel tax campaigner Robert Halfon, MP for Harlow and a member of this group, told City A.M. that this was a major success for the party.
“The chancellor has put fuel into the tanks of white van conservatives across the country,” he said. “Fuel duty has become a toxic tax and the government has recognised it as a major indicator of the cost of living.”
“I thank the chancellor for cutting fuel duty last year, freezing fuel duty in 2012 and stopping January’s rise. It is now up to oil companies to bear responsibility and keep prices down at the pump.”
Although George Osborne had been expected to postpone the January rise following a strong lobbying campaign, few expected him to scrap it completely.
The government claims that as a result the price of a litre of petrol will be 10p lower than if Labour’s duty increases had been implemented as planned.