Backbench revolt on fuel price rise quelled by hints of help for motorists

Tory MPs had been expected to join Labour in calling for Chancellor to delay fuel duty rise

Drivers could benefit in next month's Autumn Statement, it emerged, as the Chancellor headed off the threat of a Commons defeat over the price of petrol.

Several Tory backbenchers had been expected to back a Labour motion today calling for a 3p -a-litre rise in fuel duty scheduled for 1 January to be delayed for three months.

But the threat of a rebellion receded last night following well-placed hints that George Osborne will soon reveal extra help for motorists .

Tory and Liberal Democrat MPs will now combine to block the motion, leaving the Chancellor with a free hand to make his own announcement in the Autumn Statement on 5 December.

Robert Halfon, the Tory MP who has been leading a campaign against the planned increase, told The Independent: "When I first heard about the motion I was going to support it, but I have had various conversations and I genuinely believe that Mr Osborne is in strong listening mode so I'm not, as a Tory, going to help Ed Balls knife the Government. You might get one or two Tories voting with Labour, but not many.

"If you look at his motion, it is only to freeze the duty for three months. The Government has talked about lowering the cost of living. If the Autumn Statement has nothing in it and the fuel duty rise goes ahead, then I'll go public and really make a stink. I wouldn't vote with the Government if I didn't genuinely believe they're listening."

The planned increase, which would mean almost 60p out of every pound spent at the pumps went to the Treasury, was scheduled to come into effect in August, but was put back for five months by the Chancellor after opposition from road user groups.

The consumer group Which? called yesterday for the rise to be postponed after an opinion poll suggested that 39 per cent would be forced to cut back on motoring costs.

The organisation's executive director Richard Lloyd said: "Rising fuel prices are the No 1 consumer worry and people are already telling us they're having to cut back and dip into savings just to get by. The forthcoming Autumn Statement must focus on measures that will help put money back in the pockets of consumers."

But the transport charity Sustrans warned that abandoning the fuel duty rise would increase the gap between the poorest in society, who cannot afford to drive, and the majority who can. They argued for the income from fuel duty to be invested in cheap transport.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive - OTE £45,000

£25000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This online user testing compan...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40k: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 busi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + competitive: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 ...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £250000 per annum + OTE £50K: SThree: The SThree group is a world lea...

Day In a Page

Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests