George Osborne promises Tories will freeze fuel duty till 2015 - if they can find way to pay for it

Chancellor battles to join 'cost of living' fight but warns battle to clear Britain's deficit is far from over

Political Editor

Petrol duty will remain frozen until the 2015 general election, George Osborne announced today as he fought back against Labour's promises to tackle Britain's "cost of living crisis."

In his speech to the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, the Chancellor said that, as long as he could find the necessary savings, fuel duty would not be increased before the election. It would mean scrapping a rise of almost 2p a litre pencilled for September next year by the previous Labour Government.

Contrasting the move with Labour's pledge to freeze energy prices for 20 months if it wins the election, Mr Osborne said: "We don't just talk about being on the side of working people. We show it - day in, day out - in the policies we deliver."

A rise in fuel duty due to take effect this month was cancelled in his March Budget. He said then that petrol would now be 13p per litre cheaper than it would have been had the duty not been frozen over the past two years.

The Chancellor also used today's speech to warn that the battle to clear Britain's deficit is far from over. But he also held out the hope that working people would eventually reap a reward for the years of austerity, through tax cuts.

He promised that, if the Tories form the next government, they would "run a surplus" on the nation's books as an insurance policy against a repeat of the crisis that began under the last Labour Government. "Never again. This time we are going to run a surplus. This time we are going to fix the roof when the sun shines," he declared.

Mr Osborne said that would require difficult decisions and "discipline and spending control" in the next parliament.

He insisted that Labour's measures to reduce the cost of living gave the impression that this issue was "detached from the economy". He argued

that Labour's policy of higher borrowing, taxes and mortgages was "not the solution to lower living standards. They are the cause of lower living standards."

The Chancellor said: "The British public know that whoever is elected will face some very hard choices.

Our country's problem is not that it taxes too little. It is that its government spends too much. So while no responsible Chancellor ever rules out tax changes, I think it can be done by reducing spending and capping welfare, not by raising taxes."

He insisted: "The battle to turn Britain around is not even close to being over and we are going to finish what we started."

Mr Osborne hailed the Tories as the party of home ownership and small businesses and claimed it was Conservative rather than Liberal Democrat ministers who were responsible for the Coalition's key policies since 2010.

The Chancellor concluded on an upbeat note, saying: "We're turning Britain around. And we say to the people of this nation: We rescued the economy together. We're going to recover together.

And together, we're going to share in the rewards.For the sun has started to rise above the hill.And the future looks brighter than it did, just a few dark years ago."

Sport
formula oneLive lap-by-lap coverage of championship decider
News
Lily Allen performs on stage at Splendour In the Grass 2014 on 27 July, 2014, in Byron Bay, Australia
people
News
Boxing promoter Kellie Maloney, formerly known as Frank Maloney, entered the 2014 Celebrity Big Brother house
people
Arts and Entertainment
tvStrictly presenter returns to screens after Halloween accident
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
video
Arts and Entertainment
Jerry Hall (Hand out press photograph provided by jackstanley@theambassadors.com)
theatre
News
peopleFormer civil rights activist who was jailed for smoking crack cocaine has died aged 78
Sport
Manny Pacquiao lands a blow on Chris Algieri
Pacquiao retains WBO welterweight title – and says he wants Mayweather next
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
News
i100
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin