Osborne Should Delay Fuel-Duty Rise to Aid Economy, Labour Says

Britain’s opposition Labour Party called on Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne to delay an increase in fuel duty that is due in January, seeking to force the government into a second U-turn on the issue.

Labour lawmaker Ed Balls, the party’s spokesman on Treasury affairs, said the planned increase should be put back until April at least to help prevent the economy from tipping back into recession.

“This is no time for complacency,” Balls said in an article published on the PoliticsHome.com website. “A strong economic recovery is far from secured. It cannot be right to hit middle and low-income families and small businesses with another tax increase.”

In June, Osborne scrapped an increase in fuel duty that had been due to take effect in August, his fourth policy retreat in a month.

The 3 pence (4.8 U.S. cents) per-liter increase is due to go ahead on Jan. 1 instead. The delay will cost the Treasury 550 million pounds and be paid for by savings from government departments.

Labour will call for a vote on delaying the increase on Nov. 12 during a House of Commons debate. The outcome of any vote wouldn’t be binding on the government.

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