Chancellor's fuel duty cut welcomed but retailers call for patience updating forecourt pricing

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Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s 5p-per-litre cut in fuel duty in response to rocketing petrol prices has generally been welcomed by the motoring industry – but retailers are also warning that it may take some time for any reduction to be seen at the pumps.

The reduction was announced today during the Chancellor’s Spring Statement and goes live from 6pm. It follows weeks of escalating fuel pump price rises, caused largely by the continuing conflict in Ukraine.

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But, although welcome, industry leaders have responded that the Government could have done more, and have also urged consumers to be patient as retailers are unlikely to be able to reflect the pricing immediately. 

“It would be churlish not to be thankful to the Chancellor in cutting Fuel Duty by 5p for 12 months,” said Howard Cox of the Fair Fuel Campaign. “It will give some respite to millions of motorists.”

But he added: “It will only benefit drivers and the economy if the new fuel taxation level becomes permanent and is accompanied by the introduction of an independent pump pricing watchdog.”

The Petrol Retailers Association (PRA), meanwhile, urged motorists to be realistic in their expectations of when the cut will feed through to the pumps.

“The Government’s fuel duty announcement is a step in the right direction, but it does not go far enough to ease the burden on motorists. Retailers are holding duty-paid stock which will be sold before the fuel duty cuts come in. To give the motorist an immediate discount at the pumps, the Chancellor would have to backdate the fuel duty cut to 1 March,” said Gordon Balmer, Executive Director of the PRA.