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MP welcomes fuel duty axe

December 5, 2012 2:39 PM

Tim Farron calls for South Lakes to be pilot area for fuel duty rebateSouth lakes MP Tim Farron has today welcomed the Chancellor's decision to completely scrap an increase in fuel duty planned for January next year.

In his Autumn Statement this afternoon, the Chancellor, George Osborne, announced that he is completely cancelling the planned 3p per litre increase, following significant pressure from MPs including Tim. Earlier this year, Tim was one of more than 80 MPs who signed a motion calling on the Government to cut fuel duty, which places an unfair burden particularly on those in rural areas who rely on their cars much more than those in urban areas.

Tim recently led a postcard campaign, encouraging local residents to send a postcard of a local Lake District or Cumbrian Yorkshire Dales scene, reminding him that it is much more expensive to travel around rural areas like ours.

The planned 3p increase in fuel duty has already been postponed from August this year to January next year. Now there will be no increase at all. Had the Labour Party's planned fuel duty escalator still been in place, road users would be paying 10p a litre more in tax

Tim has also proposed a fuel derogation scheme for Cumbria. This scheme could cut the cost at the pump by 5p for Cumbrians. The scheme is already exists for the Highland and Islands and in the Isles of Scilly. And in August the Prime Minister said he wanted to bring forward proposals for a fuel duty discount scheme for people living in rural Yorkshire. The pilot will help people in remote countryside communities who are struggling with sky-high petrol prices.

Also included in the statement this afternoon were:

- A further £235 increase in the personal allowance to £9,440 removing 2.2 million people from income tax altogether and giving a tax cut of almost £600 to more than 20 million basic rate taxpayers from April next year;

- An aggressive Tax Avoidance package;

- Plans to devolve a significant proportion of growth-related spending to local areas from April 2015, in response to Lord Heseltine's review of economic growth;

- Investing £5.5 billion in a capital package to develop the UK's infrastructure to meet the needs of businesses for long-term private investment including new roads and science infrastructure.

Commenting, Tim said: "This is incredibly important to people in rural areas like ours. For us a car is not a luxury, it is a necessity of life and fuel costs are a major issue particularly for hardworking local families who are struggling to make ends meet already.

"Increasing fuel duty at this time would be destructive for growth, which we need in our economy now more than ever. I was one of those who proposed the motion before the summer to keep down fuel costs, and I'm delighted that we have won a small victory. I am delighted that the Chancellor has listened to our campaign and heard the voices of those living in rural communities across the country and scrapped this harmful increase.

"Things are not easy at the moment and local people are feeling the pinch and fear for their families' future. But it is clear that the Lib Dems are making their mark in Government by protecting those who need our support the most, by increasing the income tax threshold to £9,440 taking 2.2 million people out of tax and giving a further £235 tax cut to 20 million more low paid workers."