Tory MPs will make it 'very difficult' for Sunak to bring back 5p on fuel duty, Mel Stride says

Chair of the Treasury Committee Mel Stride says Rishi Sunak has risked political pain by saying the 5p fuel duty cut will be temporary. Credit: PA

The 5p cut in fuel duty has plenty of cheers on the Tory back benches where some - like Harlow MP Rob Halfon - have been campaigning for this for years.

But what happens next March when the temporary measure comes to an end? Will Rishi Sunak really increase duty by 5p again?

The chancellor said the "biggest cut to all fuel duty rates ever" will be in place for 12 months from 6pm on Wednesday.

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Treasury Committee Mel Stride said the chancellor will find it "very, very difficult" to bring the 5p back because "there are many on the Conservative back benches who will find that very difficult to stomach.

"There's quite a caucus there that wants to see those duty rates come down."

It's going to be tough for Sunak to increase fuel duty next year, says Mel Stride:

In a way I’m surprised the chancellor opted for a temporary measure after the pain linked to universal credit.

The end of what was initially pitched as a temporary uplift of £20 was extraordinarily painful. For campaigners it seemed obscene to remove the additional income for some of the poorest people in the country.

I know that afterwards the chancellor discussed the potential pitfalls of a temporary measures and perhaps that’s why easing energy bills is being done through a one off payment instead the rebate on council tax.

But clearly he’s decided to risk the political pain here.

Mr Sunak announced a cut to fuel duty of 5p, to encourage petrol providers to reduce the cost of filling a car from the record level it is currently at.

Fuel duty will be levied at a rate of 52.95 per litre for petrol and diesel, down from 57.95p.

The average cost of a litre of petrol at UK forecourts on Tuesday was 167.3p, while diesel was 179.7p, figures from data firm Experian Catalist show. This is an increase of 18p per litre for petrol and 27p for diesel over the past month.

RAC head of policy Nicholas Lyes described the cut as "a drop in the ocean" as it will "only take prices back to where they were just over a week ago".

He said: "There's also a very real risk retailers could just absorb some or all of the duty cut themselves by not lowering their prices. If this proves to be the case it will be dire for drivers."

The RAC said even if the full 5p saving is passed onto drivers it would only save them around £3 when filling up their car.