Chancellor Rishi Sunak putting up fuel duty would be ‘flashing V-signs’ at ordinary voters

Putting up fuel duty in the Budget would be the equivalent of ‘flashing V-signs’ at ordinary voters, a senior Tory warned last night.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is said to be considering ending the ten-year freeze on fuel duty in next month’s Budget as he tries to find the cash to pay for Boris Johnson’s spending pledges.

But former minister Robert Halfon yesterday warned the move risked alienating the army of former Labour voters who helped propel Mr Johnson to victory in December.

He told Sky News that pressing ahead with the move would be ‘flashing multiple V-signs at working-class voters’.

‘Millions of them, as the Prime Minister said, lent us their vote. I think it would probably be the shortest political loan in history.’

He added: ‘We’re a Conservative Government, we should be there to cut taxes for ordinary folk, not raise them.’

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is said to be considering ending the ten-year freeze on fuel duty in next month’s Budget as he tries to find the cash to pay for Boris Johnson’s spending pledges

Police minister Kit Malthouse also warned the Chancellor to consider the ‘economic impact’ on ordinary voters before signing off tax increases.

But a leading economic think tank has warned that Mr Sunak will have to use his first Budget on March 11 to put up taxes if he is to maintain the Government’s rules on borrowing.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said loosening or abandoning the rules, set out in last year’s Conservative election manifesto, would undermine the credibility of any fiscal targets the Government set.

During the election campaign, then-Chancellor Sajid Javid committed to run a balanced budget for current spending within three years.

Former minister Robert Halfon yesterday warned the move risked alienating the army of former Labour voters who helped propel Mr Johnson to victory in December

Former minister Robert Halfon yesterday warned the move risked alienating the army of former Labour voters who helped propel Mr Johnson to victory in December

But following his dramatic resignation in the Cabinet reshuffle, Mr Sunak is reported to be under pressure from Boris Johnson and his chief adviser Dominic Cummings to loosen the spending constraints.

However the IFS said that even on current policy, borrowing next year could be £63 billion, £23 billion more than the most recent official forecast, putting the manifesto target in doubt.



Next Page