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Fuel duty freeze has made 'little impact' on drivers

The fuel duty freeze of the last three years has made "little impact" on the wallets of cash strapped motorists, the RAC has said.

RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister called on the Chancellor to "go beyond his promise" to freeze fuel duty and "cut the rate further" in the 2014 budget, scheduled for March 19.

We're only about two weeks away from the Budget and the Chancellor has made much of the fact that fuel duty has not risen for three years.

However this has made little impact on the huge proportion of tax the UK's 36 million drivers pay on their fuel.

The irony is that if you take tax out of the equation we actually have the fifth cheapest diesel in the EU and the second cheapest petrol.

The oil companies and retailers are often blamed for soaring pump prices but these figures reveal that's not the whole picture.

– Professor Stephen Glaister

UK drivers face 'highest rate of tax on diesel' in Europe

British drivers who use diesel to fuel their vehicles face the highest rate of tax in Europe, the RAC Foundation has found.

The RAC released the figures ahead of this year's budget, due on March 19. Credit: PA

The only country more costly than the UK for motorists filling up their cars with petrol is Sweden, the charity said.

Its figures showed that tax accounts for 59% of the price of diesel in the UK, with Sweden (56%) second and Italy (55%) third.

As much as 61% of the price of petrol in the UK is down to tax, with Swedes (62%) paying the most in tax and the Netherlands (61%) paying the same.

In contrast, of 28 European countries surveyed, Luxembourg's drivers fork out the least amount in tax which accounts for only 41% of the total price.

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Osborne: Fuel duty rise shows Govt on side of families

ITV News Index: 82% oppose fuel duty rise

82% of people surveyed for the ITV News Index by ComRes say they oppose a rise in fuel duty.

73% of those asked said they would be angry if a fuel duty rise goes ahead.

Four in five of those surveyed think a fuel duty rise will make the Government look out of touch and two-thirds believe a rise will make a material difference to their household’s income.

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Tory opponent of fuel duty rise won't lobby with Labour

Despite being a staunch opponent of a rise in fuel duty costs, Conservative MP Robert Halfon will vote later against a Labour motion calling for January's 3p per litre rise to be delayed.

He told ITV News his Harlow constituents would understand his course of action is still geared towards keeping the cost down.

PM's spokesman says Chancellor decides fuel duty alone

Prime Minister David Cameron's official spokesman earlier declined to comment on whether the Government might back down on the 3p fuel duty rise.

He said the controversial rise was a matter for the Chancellor.

There are a series of planned rises in fuel taxes programmed in and those will generate revenue which will help bring the deficit down. But what the Government has sought to do thus far is listen to the concerns of motorists and, where it can, delay or cancel those planned rises.

Decisions on tax and duties are a matter for the Chancellor. The Government obviously recognises that the cost of petrol is a significant part of day to day spending and that is why (it) has listened to the views of consumers and motorists and acted over the past two years by delaying or cancelling planned rises.

– PM's spokesman

Balls: Chancellor's made 'nods and winks' on fuel duty

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls said George Osborne had been making "nods and winks" on fuel duty over the past 24 hours to dissuade Tory MPs from joining Labour in voting against the 3p rise today.

I would say to Conservative MPs, I wouldn't take a nod or a wink from this Chancellor as sufficient. I would want to make a clear statement to my constituents - this is the wrong thing to do and I am going to vote with Labour.

– Ed Balls, speaking to BBC Radio 4's World At One
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