Scrap fuel duty rises, Osborne urged

The Government was yesterday urged to scrap planned fuel duty rises amid fears that prices at the pumps could reach as high as 140p a litre by April.

Brian Madderson, chairman of the Retail Motor Industry Federation's petrol division, urged Chancellor George Osborne to "halt the relentless rise in fuel prices".

In a letter to Mr Osborne, Mr Madderson said average petrol prices were already at 128p a litre, with diesel close to its record-high of 133p a litre.

On diesel, Mr Madderson said: "We anticipate a new high within days and expect the price to reach 140p a litre from April 1."

He went on: "Our unequivocal recommendation is that the Government now abandon the fuel duty 'escalator' principle as this is a legacy of your predecessors.

"We are mindful that the plan to increase duty yet again by 1p a litre in 'real terms' from April 1 will add a further 4-5p a litre to the retail price at the pumps for all grades of fuel."

Mr Madderson said that by Easter average petrol prices could be as high as 136p a litre, with diesel at "an unthinkable" 140p.