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Rishi Sunak cuts fuel duty by 5p per litre

The reduction will be implemented from 6pm on Wednesday and will last until March 2023.

Neil Lancefield
Wednesday 23 March 2022 14:16 GMT
A cut in fuel duty has been announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak (Joe Giddens/PA)
A cut in fuel duty has been announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak (Joe Giddens/PA) (PA Archive)

A 5p per litre cut in fuel duty has been announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

The reduction will be implemented at 6pm on Wednesday and will last until March 2023.

The RAC warned the measure might only be reflected in pump prices once retailers purchase new fuel at the lower rate, as duty is charged on wholesale purchases.

Asda was the first major retailer to confirm it will cut prices, with a 6p per litre reduction in petrol and diesel.

Motorists have been hit by record pump prices since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led to an increase in the cost of oil due to supply fears.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Wire)

Retailers were also accused of failing to pass on a reduction in wholesale costs earlier this month.

Figures from data firm Experian Catalist show the average cost of a litre of petrol at UK forecourts on Tuesday was 167.3p, while diesel was 179.7p.

This is an increase of 18.0p per litre for petrol and 27.0p for diesel over the past month.

Announcing the duty cut in his spring statement, Mr Sunak said the UK Government wanted people to know they will “stand by them” in dealing with rising living costs.

He told MPs: “Today I can announce that for only the second time in 20 years, fuel duty will be cut.

“Not by one, not even by two, but by 5p per litre. The biggest cut to all fuel duty rates – ever.

“While some have called for the cut to last until August, I have decided it will be in place until March next year – a full 12 months.

“Together with the freeze, it’s a tax cut this year for hard-working families and businesses worth over £5 billion, and it will take effect from 6pm tonight.”

Fuel duty has been frozen at 57.95p per litre for petrol and diesel since March 2011.

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.”

AA president Edmund King welcomed the cut but expressed concern that “the benefit will be lost unless retailers pass it on”.

He also called for prices to be lowered due to the “substantial reduction in wholesale road fuel costs” since March 9.

“The road fuel trade shouldn’t leave the Treasury to do the heavy lifting when cutting motoring costs,” he added.

Paul Tuohy, chief executive at pressure group Campaign for Better Transport, said the cut will “do little to help those on the lowest incomes, who may not even own a car”.

He went on: “Rail fares have risen at a higher rate than fuel costs, and bus fares have risen twice as fast, yet public transport passengers have not been given any help with the cost-of-living crisis.”

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