Jeremy Hunt fails to help drivers by ignoring major fuel duty changes that could 'doom the Conservatives'

A petrol pump and Jeremy Hunt

Fuel duty was only referenced once in the Autumn Budget

Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 22/11/2023

- 13:50

Updated: 07/02/2024

- 15:14

Fuel duty was cut by 5p per litre in the 2022 Spring Budget

Jeremy Hunt has failed to help drivers by announcing a further freeze or cut to the rate of fuel duty during the Autumn Statement, with one expert warning that it could lose the Conservatives a number of voters.

Many drivers were looking at the Chancellor to mention fuel duty during his speech this afternoon, either by extending the 5p per litre cut or by slashing the rate further.

However, the Chancellor failed to address drivers' concerns, with many now waiting in anticipation to see whether the rate of fuel duty will change at the Spring Budget next March.

Prices at the pumps have fluctuated massively over the last year, with costs peaking last summer at almost £1.90 for petrol and a staggering £2 for diesel.

WATCH NOW: Petrol and diesel drivers react to expensive fuel costs

Howard Cox, founder of FairFuel, criticised the decision to not cut the rate of fuel duty further, saying it was a "missed opportunity" for the Government to protect drivers from expensive costs at the pump.

He said: "The threat of Rishi Sunak’s Budget temporary 5p cut in duty being reversed in the 2024 Budget still hangs over motorists' heads. That event could have been quashed completely today.

"A missed set of election opportunities that may doom the Conservative Party to the opposition benches for a generation.

"It's clear that the UK's 37 million drivers persist as pure cash cows, not the fiscal solution to stimulating economic growth they so deserve but remain as a chronic bottomless pit of hard-earned cash to pay off the Government's mounting debt of fiscal incompetence."

Rishi Sunak took the opportunity to cut the rate of fuel duty when he was Chancellor in 2022 in response to high petrol and diesel prices.

He announced that drivers would benefit from a five pence per litre cut to fuel duty following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and high global oil costs.

It was estimated at the time that the average driver would save around £100, with Jeremy Hunt extending the freeze for a further 12 months.

Many drivers have called on the Government to go further and cut the rate of fuel duty further, with prices still expensive for many drivers.

According to RAC Fuel Watch, the average price of petrol is 150.69p per litre, while diesel drivers are facing higher costs at 157.78p per litre.

According to exclusive data from PetrolPrices, the cheapest cost at the pump for unleaded is 133.9p, with two different filling stations in Whitchurch, Hampshire, offering drivers low costs.

A number of filling stations are offering motorists the chance to pay just 146.9p as seen in Dunoon, Whitchurch, Craigavon, Carrickfergus and Ellesmere.

On the other hand, the Stracathro service station in Brechin is charging 189.9p for diesel, while Lye service station in Stourbridge is selling the most expensive petrol at a rate of 179.9p.

Data from FairFuelUK released before the Budget announcement found that drivers are more likely to vote for Labour than Conservative on account of crime and economic policies.

Speaking before the Budget, Howard Cox said: "The traditional easy cash cow targets have had enough with the Tories. A party I have voted for, for 50 years is now distrusted by millions of motorists.


Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt delivered the Autumn Statement this afternoon


"I’m not even sure a 20p cut in fuel duty would turn them around. The disappointment in this Government is now deep seated. But if I was Jeremy Hunt, I’d give that fiscal plan a real go."

Prior to the Budget, the Government also announced a major boost to three million workers with the biggest-ever increase to the National Living Wage.

It moves from £10.42 to £11.44 an hour, representing a nearly 10 per cent rise with Jeremy Hunt heralding the announcement as meeting manifesto pledges.

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