UK fuel duty freeze and increased pothole investment announced in 2023 Spring Budget

Chancellor freezes fuel duty once again and maintains 5p cut for another 12 months; extra £200m for pothole repairs

Petrol pump

Fuel duty is to remain frozen for the 13th consecutive year, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has announced, despite forecasters predicting a steep increase. Pothole repairs will also receive additional funding.

Delivering his latest Budget, Jeremy Hunt said he had listened to representations from politicians and campaigners, and has come to the decision that high inflation means now is not the time to raise fuel prices.

Fuel duty has been frozen since 2011, and currently carries a cut of 5p per litre that was implemented last year. Hunt has maintained this, leaving the duty at 52.95p per litre.

This is in spite of a forecast from the Office for Budget Responsibility following the 2022 Autumn Statement, which had predicted that the 2023 Spring Statement would need to include a 23-per-cent hike in fuel duty, raising the pump price of petrol and diesel by 12p per litre.

The decision not to do this was welcomed by campaigners. Howard Cox, founder of FairFuelUK, said: “The longest-ever consumer tax levy freeze thankfully continues. It would be churlish not to warmly thank Mr Hunt for today’s welcome news, even though drivers actually wanted a cut in this regressive tax.”

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes commented: “We welcome the Government’s decision to keep the 5p cut in fuel duty in place for another 12 months. The cut has given drivers some much-needed relief in what has been the most torrid year ever at the pumps, with price records being broken even after duty was cut. Given the importance of driving for consumers and businesses, duty should be kept low to help fight inflation.”

Hunt also announced an additional £200million of funding for pothole repairs, but this was met with less excitement. Lyes said: “While welcome, another £200million is unlikely to make a big difference to the overall quality of our dilapidated local roads. 

"We need to significantly increase funding for local road maintenance and improvement so councils can resurface roads properly rather than patching them up and hoping for the best. Last year, the Government spent £1.125billion on local roads in England, which is in stark contrast to the £7billion that went into major roads from car tax, despite local roads covering so many more miles."

Now read more about the Government's plans to further invest in EV charging...

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