Asked why the Chancellor had chosen today to postpone the 2p rise in fuel duty and did it have anything to do with the fact that there was a by election coming up, the PMS said that that was not the case. There were a lot of precedents for the postponement of autumn increases in fuel duty being made before the summer break. This was the case in 2004, 2005 and it was the case in 2006. The Chancellor had done this now because he wanted to end any remaining uncertainty.
Asked if there was an argument for not doing these staged increases as the Government often ended up not doing them anyway, the PMS said it was not the case that we had always postponed them, but it was right that we took decisions on tax based on the best information we had at the time. We had always said consistently that the Chancellor would come back to this decision in advance of its implementation on the 1st October. We had never said that this was simply a matter for the Pre-Budget Report (PBR).
Asked if it was consistent with purdah rules, the PMS said it was completely consistent with them. Asked whether consideration would be given to cutting fuel duty, the PMS said that any future decisions on tax were a matter for the Chancellor in the PBR and the Budget.
Asked if this was an acknowledgment by the Government that oil prices were unlikely to fall, the PMS said that the reasons for the Chancellor’s decision were set out in the statement issued by the Treasury today.
Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news
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