Autumn Statement 2013: fuel duty & car tax news

Budget 2016: what it means for motorists
5 Dec, 2013 12:25pm Chris Ebbs

Osborne's 2013 Autumn Statement: latest news on fuel duty and paperless car tax

Chancellor George Osborne has announced that fuel duty will be frozen until 2015 and that the UK will move to a paperless system for vehicle excise duty in his Autumn Statement.

The Chancellor had hinted that fuel duty could be delayed a further two years back at the Tory conference in September, but only if the savings could be made elsewhere in order to support this.

Speaking during the Autumn Statement he claimed that the extra savings had been found and as a result the next rise, due in 2014, would be cancelled. He claimed that as a result of various cancellations and freezes of fuel duty by the Coalition Government, motorists were paying 20p per litre less for petrol than they would have done under the Labour Government.

The Autumn Statement also outlined plans for the UK to move to a paperless car tax system. Instead vehicle excise duty will move to an electronic system, with a paper car tax disc no longer needed to be visible.

The new system will allow motorists to pay the charge by monthly direct debit, and will be introduced in October 2014. Motorists can currently pay in six or 12 months instalments. The new monthly option is expected to cost five per cent more than paying the full year in one go. Drivers who don't have the internet will be able to pay directly at the post office of over the phone.

The Treasury claims the move shows that the Government was moving "into the modern age".

And while we expected confirmation on the plans for the A14 toll road being ditched to also be confirmed, the infrastructure plan released by the Treasury has already confirmed this. It has also said that it will put forward £5 million to encourage public sector fleets to turn to electric vehicles as well as pushing the UK to the forefront of driverless car research.

Campaign for Better Transport (CBT) has called on the Chancellor to bring forward funding for road maintenance through road repair and renewal fund, rather than attempting new projects on road building that may need private investment as they continue to be delayed.

The CBT is also calling for cycle-friendly road infrastructure and investing more money to make road safer for cyclists and pedestrians. Its also asking for trials of longer HGV trailers to be dropped and rule against any plans for any increase in the speed limit for lorries on non-trunk roads.

However, there have been no clues as to whether the Chancellor will do anything other than confirming the delay of the fuel duty rise. And motorists are unlikely to get any further help on insurance costs or vehicle excise duty at all.