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
Conservative MP calls for transparency on fuel tax
Labour had hoped some campaigning Tory backbenchers would support its motion and rebel against the Government.
But Robert Halfon MP, who has led the campaign against increasing fuel duty, said he would not vote against the Government until he had seen whether George Osborne responds to mounting concerns in the Autumn Statement, due on December 5.
He said: "The cost of fuel is the number one issue, that's why I am campaigning on it.
"I have had discussions with various people and it is my view that the Government is in strong listening mode.
"If I didn't believe that I would make a point and go in to the lobby with Labour."
With our economy so fragile and prices still rising faster than wages, it would be wrong to go ahead with another tax rise on families and businesses.
To boost our flatlining economy, Labour has already called for a temporary VAT cut which would take 3p off a litre of fuel. But if ministers won't do this, the very least they could do is axe January's fuel duty rise at least until April.
And they could pay for this by clamping down on known tax avoidance loopholes, like the one used by some employment agencies to falsely inflate expenses.
– Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rachel Reeves
There was growing pressure today on Chancellor George Osborne to abandon the Government's controversial 3p-a-litre increase in fuel duty planned for January.
Labour are calling on the Government in a Commons vote this afternoon to delay the tax hike until at least next April, claiming families and businesses are in desperate need of some good news from the Exchequer.