BUSINESS leaders today expressed their delight at a Government U-Turn to scrap a planned increase in fuel duty.
Chancellor George Osborne turned his back on plans to increase the duty by 3p and will now freeze it for the rest of the year.
Michael Threlfall, of M Threlfall Haulage Ltd, says the decision will help business.
He said: “It should never have been put up in the first place because oil is at the low end of the market and diesel is at the high end, leading to expensive costs for hauliers.
“But this is good news and it’s a start for business and a help to bring costs in line.
“I don’t think any haulier was supportive of it and everyone is aware of diesel costs being the biggest and most substantial cost to any business.
“It’s something we don’t have any control over.”
Howard Lewis, chairman of Blackpool Business Leadership Group, also welcomed the U-Turn which was due to come into effect in August.
He said: “It’s certainly a step in the right direction.
“It will help businesses that rely on deliveries and transportation for doing business.
“I still think more help is needed for small to medium businesses.
“This is a good start, but there’s still things like the VAT and Enterprise Zones which we have been trying to promote to the Government.
“Bringing in a fuel increase would have affected the amount of people coming into the area and I think businesses that rely on transport will keep costs down over the back end of the year which is great news.”
Steve Pye, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses Fylde coast branch, added: “This is excellent news.
“The 3p rise in fuel duty was going to damage small firms that are already being crippled by the high cost of petrol.”