Great Britain

Boris Johnson’s top adviser Dominic Cummings pushes to hike fuel duty for the first time in a decade

BRITAIN’S 37million drivers face the first rise in fuel duty in a decade next month.

They will be targeted in the Budget as Boris Johnson’s all-powerful adviser Dominic Cummings eyes up a £4billion spending pot.

He wants to end the fuel duty freeze which has been in place since 2010 and saves drivers about £1.50 every time they fill up.

The tax will probably go up by the rate of inflation, putting 2p on a litre of fuel.

However, the rise might be delayed until next year.

Mr Cummings wants to use fuel tax to fund the PM’s promised spending on infrastructure outside the capital, Treasury sources say.

Some in No10 believe it will also boost the Tories’ reputation on environmental issues, they add.

Fuel duty was frozen thanks to The Sun’s long-running Keep it Down campaign. But it was one of the issues on which Mr Cummings disagreed with Sajid Javid before he quit as Chancellor last week.

A Treasury official said: “Cummings was pushing Sajid to put up fuel duty, so the PM will look good for the climate conference we’re hosting.”

But Mr Javid’s replacement, Rishi Sunak, is a No10 loyalist and thought unlikely to block any attempt to end the freeze on March 11.

During the election, Mr Johnson told The Sun he had “absolutely no intention” of raising fuel duty.

But allies of the PM and the Chancellor refused to rule it out on Wednesday. One said: “Rishi is still getting his feet under the desk. There have been no decisions yet.”

Experts say a five-year freeze will cost the Government about £4billion a year.

But Tory MP Robert Halfon told The Sun: “This war on motorists has got to stop.”

And Howard Cox, of the FairFuel campaign, said ministers should be trying to cut fuel duty. He warned a rise would be “devastating to hard-pressed motorists”.

He said: “There are so many good reasons to cut the world’s highest fuel tax, not least the huge benefit such a fall would do to the economy.

Back in July 2014, the Treasury published a statement showing lower fuel duty will indeed, create jobs, increase GDP, reduce inflation and generate more consumer spending.”

It is one of a number of tax rises being considered. In talks yesterday, the PM and Mr Sunak were said to be looking at raids on pension tax relief and council tax rises for the rich.

No10 declined to comment.

Sajid Javid interviewed after resigning as PM Boris Johnson appoints Rishi Sunak as his new Chancellor in cabinet reshuffle

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