Treasury considering raising fuel duty

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The Treasury is considering raising fuel duty for the first time in eight years to pay for the UK Government's pledge to add £20bn to the NHS budget within five years.

Government sources were quoted as saying that scrapping the freeze on fuel duty, which has cost the Treasury £46bn since 2011-12, was "under serious consideration".

The move will provoke anger among Conservative MPs representing rural constituencies, who had been campaigning for the government to cut fuel prices.

A Treasury spokesperson did not rule out the report in the Guardian, saying that "taxpayers will have to contribute a bit more".

The SNP said Scotland and people on low incomes would be hit hardest by any increase in fuel duty.

Caithness, Sutherland and Ross MSP Gail Ross said: "Slapping charges on consumers at the petrol pump is about the least fair way of going about it. It would be a fundamentally regressive move – hitting the least well off far harder than the rich.

“In my Highland constituency, where travel by road across hundreds of miles is an absolute necessity for those living and working here, such a move would be grossly unfair and disproportionate.

“Businesses would lose out and jobs and it could put livelihoods on the line. Rural Scotland shouldn’t be left, once again, to pay the highest price for uncosted Tory promises."