SDLP South Down MP Margaret Ritchie has said it is imperative that the Chancellor of the Exchequer does not announce a rise in fuel duty as part of his Autumn Statement this week.
Ms Ritchie was speaking ahead of the Statement, which will be delivered on Wednesday and which will include economic plans between now and the next budget.
She said: “The Chancellor saw reason earlier in the year when he froze fuel duty – he must continue to see the benefits of continuing the freeze, or preferably reducing duty.
“The economic benefits of a cut in fuel duty are clear for all to see – cheaper transport means not only a benefit for the domestic user, but also the commercial road user, making freight cheaper to get from place to place and creating jobs at the same time.
“It is heartening to hear early rumours that the Chancellor plans to continue the freeze for the remainder of the financial year, but now is the time for him to show true leadership and cut fuel duty as a mark of faith in both the economy and his own stimulus plans.
“Given that he has been forced to admit that he cannot meet his own deficit-cutting targets, he must find other ways to revitalise the economy. I would contend that he should start with cutting fuel duty.”