AA/Populus

Fuel tax lure too great for chancellor, drivers believe

11 November 2008

More than three-quarters of UK drivers (80%) believe the Chancellor will do nothing in his pre-Budget Report to ease the burden of higher fuel costs on consumer spending, an AA Populus survey reveals.

Although the Government has been urging fuel suppliers and retailers to help reduce pump prices as quickly as possible, more than half of drivers (56%) think the Chancellor will not continue to freeze fuel duty now that pump prices have come down.

The AA Populus survey of 11,500 drivers found that 80 per cent of the sample thought it very unlikely or quite unlikely that the Chancellor will propose measures to help motorists in the forthcoming March budget.

Older drivers were less likely to think the Chancellor would help them out (83% of over 65s compared to 71% of 18-24 year olds).

More than half of the drivers (56%) did not expect the Chancellor to signal a continued freeze in fuel duty in the pre-budget report.

AA comment

"Although Government pressure on the fuel suppliers and retailers to drop prices has been welcome, it is still clear that the majority of motorists don't think that the Chancellor will help them in the Budget," says Edmund King, the AA's president.

"The tax element of the cost of a litre of car fuel comes into sharper focus as the price comes down, particularly with fuel duty comprising more than half of the cost of a litre of fuel. Although the AA recognises that fuel duty will eventually have to rise in line with inflation, an unfreezing of fuel duty or a major increase in road tax so soon after the Government has called for fuel costs to come down will only confirm driver scepticism. Keeping fuel prices down will help the economy as well as helping many motorists on low incomes."

Regional results

Question:

The Chancellor is soon to give his pre-Budget Report to Parliament. How likely do you think it is that he will propose measures to help motorists in the forthcoming March budget? – very unlikely or quite unlikely

London 77%, South 86%, South West 80%, Wales 75%, East Midlands 79%, East Anglia 79%, Yorks/Humberside 81%, North West 83%, North East 85%, West Midlands 80%, Scotland 80%, Northern Ireland 82%.

Question:

How likely do you think it is that the Chancellor will signal a continued freeze in fuel duty in the pre-Budget Report this autumn? – very unlikely or quite unlikely:

London 55%, South 55%, South West 57%, Wales 53%, East Midlands 57%, East Anglia 57%, Yorks/Humberside 58%, North West 57%, North East 60%, West Midlands 60%, Scotland 55%, Northern Ireland 58%.

Factfile

AA Populus survey of 11,388 motorists conducted between 24-28 October 2008



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11 November 2008