The PRA and motoring organisations have reacted angrily to reports the government is planning to increase fuel duty by 2ppl, with PRA chairman Brian Madderson describing it as "a kick in the teeth" for motorists. A group of backbench Tory MPs is also reported to be opposed to the move and planning to write to the Chancellor urging a rethink.

According to reports in the national press, the new Chancellor Rishi Sunak is preparing to raise fuel duty by about 2ppl in his Budget on March 11, although the increase might be deferred until next year.

The PRA has been calling for a cut in duty, and wrote to the new Chancellor just after he was appointed last week, explaining how such a move would boost the economy.

Madderson said: "As we have said in our letter to the new Chancellor, hard-working people in the new Tory constituencies in the Midlands and North are massively dependent on cars and vans due to the poor rail networks and virtually non-existent bus services. Rishi should know this fact representing the rural Richmond, North Yorkshire area.

"A fuel duty hike will be a kick in the teeth for northern motorists and will likely hold back the speed and extent of any economic recovery that voters are expecting."