Prime Minister Theresa May will announce that fuel duty is to be frozen for the ninth year in a row.

The move comes following rumours of a 2p rise in fuel duty that was to be included in the Autumn Budget at the end of October. May will make the comments in her closing remarks to the Conservative Party Conference today.

As fuel prices have reached new heights in recent months, May will say that the move to freeze fuel duty signifies to motorists and transport organisations that her government is “on their side.” The decision to hold fuel duty at 57.95p per litre will make sure that the “little bit of money” that drivers can “put away at the end of the month” is not “measured in pounds and pence”.

May also emphasised the “peace of mind” that comes with having savings and emphasised “the joy and precious memories of a week’s holiday with the family” that many already struggle to afford. “They are the people this party exists for,” she is to say, “They are the people for whom this party must deliver.”

“Some have wondered if there would be a thaw in our fuel duty freeze this year. Today I can confirm that in the budget later this month, the chancellor will freeze fuel duty again.

“Because for millions of people, their car is not a luxury. It’s a necessity.”
According to RAC Fuel Watch Data, fuel prices are at their highest for four years with drivers paying £7 more per fill-up on average than 12 months ago and £15 more than in 2016. The UK has the highest duty rate for diesel and the eighth highest for unleaded in the EU.

PUMP IT UP: The industry reacts to the fuel duty freeze

Across the board, reaction across the industry has been positive.

Rod Mckenzie, Director of Policy at the Road Haulage Association, said the announcement is a “welcome relief”

Robert Halfon, Conservative MP for Harlow, said: “Great news after a strong campaign with FairFuelUK and Howard Cox. Motorists are safe for another year. Dellighted that the Treasury has listened to millions of drivers across the UK. Fact remains lower fuel duty means a boost to the economy.”

Howard Cox, Founder of the Fair Fuel UK campaign, said: The ‘’just about managing’ will breathe a huge sigh of relief that duty is frozen for the 9th year. Thank you, Prime Minister, for seeing common sense. It is now time for this fragile Conservative Government to work with 37m drivers to put together a long-term strategic road transport plan that motivates tax payers, the economy and the environment. Mr Hammond should also look into the mirror and ask why he is so out of touch with reality.”

“A silver lining” but potential for “darker clouds”

The RAC recently raised a petition to the Chancellor against a rise in fuel duty, citing how an increase would “put UK drivers and businesses at a bigger disadvantage” compared to European counterparts and the Treasury’s own analysis in 2014 which showed that lower fuel duty “boosts economic growth which in turn yields higher revenues from other tax receipts over a long-term period.”

Reacting to the freeze, RAC fuel spokesperson Simon Williams said: “We are pleased the Prime Minister has listened to the RAC and millions of motorists by freezing fuel duty for another year. Drivers are currently paying the highest prices at the pumps for four years. While there is a silver lining in the form of no rise in fuel duty, darker clouds in the form of higher wholesale costs may well be passed on to drivers at the pumps imminently, so it would have been foolhardy for the Treasury to opt to punish drivers further.

“Motorists can breathe a sigh of relief for now, however it is a shame that each year motorists have to worry whether the Government is about to hit them harder in their pockets.”

“An extremely expensive policy”

But not all in the transport industry are happy. Darren Shirley, Chief Executive at Campaign for Better Transport, said:”This annou ncement contrasts jarringly with the Government’s insistence on pressing ahead with raising regulated rail fares by 3.2 per cent in January 2019. Many rail passengers will be paying more than £100 extra for their season tickets next year. Passengers deserve a fares freeze, especially in the light of the recent disruption on the railways.

“Freezing fuel duty is an extremely expensive policy. This money could be used to give people real travel choices, protecting lifeline bus services and mending potholes that are the scourge of drivers and cyclists alike.”