A survey of UK motorists has found Rishi Sunak’s Fuel Duty cuts have made “no difference” to most drivers’ finances. The Chancellor opted to slash 5p per litre off Fuel Duty for petrol and diesel earlier this year in response to rising prices as the Russian army invaded Ukraine and sanctions were imposed.
During the spring Budget last month, Sunak told MPs he would cut Fuel Duty for “only the second time in 20 years”, cutting the tax from 57.95p per litre to 52.95p per litre for both petrol and diesel. The cut will last a full year, expiring in March 2023.
The move was widely welcomed when it was announced, although some commentators said the cuts didn’t go far enough. For example, the RAC’s head of roads policy, Nicholas Lyes, said at the time he was “pleased” with the decision, but described the cut as “something of a drop in the ocean”.
In his Budget speech to MPs, however, Rishi Sunak said the cuts would “help motorists” and described the move as “the biggest cut to all Fuel Duty rates ever”. He also claimed that, together with the freeze on Fuel Duty increases, the decision would represent a tax cut of more than £5 billion for “hard-working families and businesses”.
Now, research from online used car buying service ChooseMyCar.com has found nine in 10 British motorists say the cuts have had no impact on drivers’ finances. The company’s survey of 2,000 UK adults revealed 90 percent had not felt any better off as a result of the changes.
Men were least likely to have noticed a difference, with 92 percent of those questioned claiming there was “no positive difference”, compared with 88 percent of women. There were also geographic differences, with drivers in Northern Ireland most likely to claim the cuts had made no difference, with 97 percent seeing no change in their finances.
On a more granular level, the research found Belfast and Newcastle were the UK cities least likely to notice the difference, with 95 percent saying the cuts had changed nothing. Motorists in Leeds, Cardiff and Bristol were close behind, with 93 percent of drivers claiming the same thing. In contrast, drivers in Nottingham saw greater improvements, although 85 percent still said their finances had not improved.
“Recent research we conducted before this study showed that these increased prices meant many people were spending unacceptable levels of their disposable income on fuel,” said ChooseMyCar.com’s founder, Nick Zapolski. “Sadly, our newest study shows that the Chancellor’s paltry 5p has had little to no impact on fuel costs for the vast majority of UK drivers. The time has come for more to be done to protect people from inflated costs and shortages over the coming months.”