Boris Johnson fuels speculation of another petrol duty cut as pump prices soar

·3 min read
Boris Johnson said that people think the Government 'could do more to help with the cost of fuel’ - Andrew Parsons/Number 10 Downing Street
Boris Johnson said that people think the Government 'could do more to help with the cost of fuel’ - Andrew Parsons/Number 10 Downing Street

Boris Johnson has opened the door to cutting fuel duty again to help with the rising cost of petrol.

The Prime Minister said on Monday that the public was asking the Government what more could be done to help them at the pumps.

There was also an indication from a Treasury minister that the incoming corporation tax rise could be reduced or scrapped at this autumn’s Budget.

Downing Street and Treasury spokesmen continue to argue that no firm decisions have been taken on tax policy, with the next Budget still half a year away.

Mr Johnson and Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, have talked about their enthusiasm for more tax cuts. However, they have cautioned that such cuts can only take place if they will not exacerbate the surge in inflation.

During an interview with the BBC on Monday, Mr Johnson mentioned public pressure to help with fuel bills as he discussed criticisms of his leadership.

He said that “of course, there are going to be criticisms of political leaders”, which he “humbly” accepted – but he said the priority was to “help people through the current pressures”.

The Prime Minister added: “At the pumps, people are thinking: ‘You know, this Government could do more to help with the cost of fuel.’

“People are thinking: ‘What are they doing to help me with the cost of food?’

“So we're doing as much as we possibly can.”

The remark about fuel prices triggered new speculation that Mr Johnson could favour a duty cut this autumn.

Mr Sunak cut 5p off fuel duty in the spring, but petrol prices have continued to soar since then. Critics said the reduction was not passed on to drivers but swallowed by petrol companies.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman declined to confirm new fuel duty cuts were being planned.

The spokesman said: "I would just point to the help that we have provided to people.

"The Chancellor set out not too long ago a big package of support that will help eight million households by giving them £1,200 more to help them with things like food costs and petrol costs.

"That's obviously on top of the 5p fuel duty decrease that the Chancellor announced also this year and you'll be aware that the support will start being delivered to people from July, as well as the National Insurance (threshold) increase that will put more money in people's pockets as well."

When asked about whether the corporation tax rise should be scrapped, Simon Clarke, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, told The Times: “It is obviously the case that we want to see British business equipped to compete. And in general terms, obviously, the lower the burdens we can place on them, the better their chances will be.

“The Chancellor has set out his intention to say more in the autumn.”

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