UK Chancellor George Osborne has just delivered his pre-election budget statement, and it included some reasonably good news for drivers, in the form of an announcement that the current freeze on fuel duty will remain, cancelling a planned increase in September.

The Chancellor was keen to point out that this represented the “longest duty freeze” in over two decades, which apparently saves families £10 each time they fill their fuel tank.

The announcement of this freeze will perhaps go some way to pacifying campaigning groups. However, plenty of people were hoping for more, in the form of an actual cut in fuel duty.

Moving aside from the government’s rhetoric, there should really be some room for further manoeuvre on fuel duty. As we discussed in a recent news item, British petrol is actually the second cheapest in the whole of Europe, until taxes are added on in the form of fuel duty and VAT. It’s perhaps worth keeping this in mind before regarding this freeze announcement as “generous.”

In other budget news, Osborne also announced a comprehensive overhaul to taxes affecting the North Sea oil industry, to protect it from the fallout caused by the reduction in global oil prices. These changes include a backdated reduction of 10% in the supplementary tax charge for oil companies, as confirmed in a BBC report.


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