The head of the Institute of Directors (IoD) in the region has welcomed the government’s decision to delay its planned rise in fuel taxes.
Fuel duty will be frozen for the rest of the year, Chancellor George Osborne told MPs, adding that this would benefit families and businesses.
The government was “doing everything we can”, he told the Commons, adding: “The one-off cost of this change will be fully paid for by the larger-than-forecast savings in departmental budgets.”
In last year’s Autumn Statement Mr Osborne cancelled a scheduled 3p rise in fuel duty for January this year but said another planned rise this August would proceed – although it would be cut from 5p to 3p.
The move comes after a concerted campaign by motoring and groups such as the IoD, who argued high fuel prices were “crippling” business.
Yesterday, Gerry Jones, chairman of the IoD in the South West, said: “Increasing the cost of making deliveries or of staff getting to work was only going to harm the economy, and many will be relieved that the rise has been cancelled. The Chancellor has made the right decision, and the wheels of commerce will turn more smoothly as a result.”
Last year the IoD asked the Government to consider the real tax burden on small to medium-sized businesses. Bristol24-7 columnist Karen White said: “Corporation tax of 20-25% is just half the story, it’s all the other ‘silent’ taxes such as fuel duty, National Insurance contributions, business rates and even the current escalating cost of utilities that means that figure is more like 32-43%.”
In the Commons, shadow chancellor Ed Balls told the Commons that Mr Osborne was a “part-time, U-turning chancellor” who would “not assume responsibility for his own decisions”.
But Mr Osborne said road users would be paying 10p a litre more in taxation had Labour still been in power.
Meanwhile, Friends of the Earth’s head of campaigns, Andrew Pendleton, told the BBC: “The main reason for high pump prices is the cost of oil, which is predicted to rise in the long-term.
“Motorists up and down the country will continue to pay a heavy price if ministers and motor manufacturers don’t take urgent action to wean our cars off their oil dependency.”