A delay to the proposed 3ppl fuel duty rise in January will be the subject of a House of Commons debate prompted by the Labour party on Monday (November 12).

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls revealed the news in his online blog saying the fuel duty rise should be delayed at least until April: “We will put this to a vote in Parliament on Monday and I hope MPs from all parties will stand up for their constituents and back our call.”

He said that at a time when the cost of living is rising, the UK’s recovery is fragile and therefore it cannot be right to hit middle- and low-income families and small businesses with another tax increase.

“Acting now would give some relief to millions of motorists.,” he said. “Petrol now costs an average of £1.36ppl.  That’s 5ppl higher than in the summer when George Osborne u-turned and agreed to Labour’s call to postpone August’s fuel duty rise. And it’s 15ppl higher than it was at the general election.

“It’s good news that some of the big supermarkets have this week cut their pump prices to attract shoppers in the run-up to Christmas. But rather than give the retailers a reason to put prices back up in the New Year, Ministers should keep the pressure on them to keep it down by postponing the duty rise in January.

He suggests the government should pay for the tax cut by clamping down on tax avoidance schemes.

“Of course difficult decisions are needed to get the deficit down,” he said. “That’s why Labour put up fuel duty in the past. But we often delayed or cancelled planned duty rises based on the circumstances at the time – including at the height of the global financial crisis. And I am clear that now is not the right time to hit the economy with another tax rise on small firms and people on low and middle incomes.”