Tory MPs have vowed to battle any move to increase fuel duty for 37 million hard-pressed motorists in next month’s Budget.
Reports suggested new Chancellor Rishi Sunak might contemplate a 2p per litre rise in line with inflation, the first increase in a decade.
The move, said to have originated with No 10 chief aide Dominic Cummings, who wants £4billion to fund planned infrastructure projects.
But the suggestion – downplayed by the Treasury – prompted a warning that it could cost the Tories in former Labour seats it won for the first time at December’s election, especially in the North and Midlands.
‘This would hit people, particularly in rural communities, outside towns and cities and in many parts of the country where we won seats for the first time in the election,’ Filton & Bradley Stoke MP Jack Lopresti told the Times.
‘We all believe that we need to put significant investment in public transport infrastructure but until that happens we should not be considering raising duty.’
‘This would hit people, particularly in rural communities, outside towns and cities and in many parts of the country where we won seats for the first time in the election,’ said Filton & Bradley Stoke MP Jack Lopresti
The move is said to be being explored at the behest of Mr Johnson’s powerful chief aide Dominic Cummings
Freezing the duty instead of increasing it in line with inflation saves drivers around £1.50 every time they fill up.
But it also costs the Treasury billions in lost revenue and is also seen by some environmental campaigners as subsidising people responsible for damaging the planet.
In a pre-election speech on December 4 Mr Johnson announced that a fuel duty freeze which would financially benefit 37million motorists would be in the first post-Brexit budget.
But the plans is said to be one of the areas where he clashed with ex-chancellor Sajid Javid, who wanted to keep it in place, while Mr Johnson was happy to see it removed.
A Government source suggested an increase was unlikely to be in the March 11 Budget.
But campaigners fear that it could be introduced in 2021.