Page last updated at 22:49 GMT, Monday, 12 November 2012

Labour calls for delay to planned fuel duty rise

Labour has called on the government to delay the 3p-a-litre rise in fuel duty planned for January until April at the earliest.

Opening an opposition-day debate on the subject on 12 November 2012, shadow economic secretary Cathy Jamieson said it is "exactly the wrong time to hike fuel costs".

She urged MPs from all parties to back a Labour motion claiming that the postponement could be funded by tackling tax avoidance.

"Everyone in this House knows that families are feeling the squeeze, that low and middle income families are hardest hit, that prices are rising higher than wages, that small businesses are struggling and that the economy is still fragile," she said.

But Treasury Minister Sajid Javid said the government was aware of the pressure on the cost of living and claimed that fuel duty was 10p per litre less than it would have been under Labour plans.

He told MPs: "The government is doing all it can to help hard-working families with the cost of living and putting money back into their pockets."

At the end of the debate, MPs rejected Labour's motion by 282 votes to 234, a government majority of 48, instead backing a government amendment arguing that "as a result of the action this government has taken to cut, cancel and delay fuel duty rises families will save around £159 on fuel costs by April 2013".

The duty increase was originally to be introduced last August, but in June Mr Osborne announced that he was postponing it for five months.

At the time he told the Commons the delay was being funded by what he called "larger-than-forecast savings in departmental budgets".

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