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Chancellor weighing up fuel duty cut as PM seeks nuclear energy solution

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he Chancellor is reportedly gearing up to slash fuel duty in his spring statement as Boris Johnson pursues long-term measures to guard against future energy bill pressures.

Rishi Sunak appeared on Sunday to hint at help for motorists in his so-called “mini-Budget”, with measures to prevent filling up cars from being “prohibitively expensive” expected to be unveiled on Wednesday.

There are suggestions the Chancellor could temporarily cut fuel duty by as much as 5p per litre to support families and businesses through the cost of living crisis.

We recognise the importance of people being able to fill their cars up and not being prohibitively expensive

Forecourt prices have risen sharply since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with average prices at a record 165.9p per litre for petrol and 177.3p per litre for diesel.

With pressure mounting on Mr Sunak to act, he told the BBC on Sunday that “of course” he was prepared to step-in to help those on tightly-squeezed budgets.

However, the No 11 incumbent added that he “can’t solve every problem” as he conceded Britons faced a “difficult” time amid ballooning inflation.

Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said Labour would vote for a fuel duty reduction but that, with 5p off amounting to a £2 saving on the average car tank, called for Mr Sunak to go further to deal with the financial demands facing the public.

There were also reports the Chancellor is considering raising the threshold at which people start paying national insurance.

The Times said the move would take an estimated 150,000 people out of paying next month’s planned 1.25 percentage point NI contribution rise.

April’s increase is designed to pay for clearing the NHS backlog caused by the pandemic as part of a health and social care levy.

It comes as the Prime Minister prepares to sit down with nuclear industry leaders on Monday to discuss how to get domestic projects off the ground “more quickly and cheaply”.

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