MPs vote to keep 3p per litre fuel duty rise

The government has voted not to postpone the 3p per litre fuel duty rise scheduled for introduction in January next year following calls from Labour MPs to abolish the proposed tax rise at the pumps.

The Opposition was defeated by 282 votes to 234, meaning its aim to delay the rise until “at least April 2013” was quashed.

Despite plans for the extra levy to be introduced early next year, the Treasury gave strong hints that the coalition may in fact defer the planned 3p increase.

With Chancellor George Osborne’s autumn statement due next month, economic secretary to the Treasury Sajid Javid gave clues to a possible shake-up in fuel taxes:

“The government is doing all it can to help hard-working families with the cost of living and putting money back into their pockets. Action on fuel duty is part of this.

“If we had continued with the policies of the previous government fuel would be 10p more expensive per litre. This government understands the financial pressures hard-working families are facing and is determined to help with the cost of living.”

The result was countered by shadow economic secretary, Cathy Jamieson, however, highlighting that in an economy emerging from a double-dip recession the Coalition should be doing more to help hard-hit individuals:

“Petrol is 15p a litre higher than at the general election, it’s 5p higher than in the summer, when the government last deferred a rise. It’s exactly the wrong time to hike fuel costs.”

 

DIGITAL RADIO SWITCHOVER FOR UK CARS ON HORIZON

A complete switch to digital radio in cars similar to that currently happening with TV is on the horizon.

There’s no official date been earmarked for the switchover, but Digital Radio UK – the organisation responsible for the process – believes a decision by Parliament on when the changeover will happen is imminent.

It could be as early as next with, with just a two-year period in which we’ll say bye-bye to analogue airwaves.

Given that many modern cars aren’t fitted with the technology to receive the binary information required for digital radio, the switchover could be an expensive process for motorists who enjoy their melodies or new of a morning.

In fact, as little as 5% of cars have DAB-enabled devices, while 91% of all households listen to the radio at some point during the average week, most often on the way to and from work.

Less than two thirds of drivers are aware that a switchover has been planned at all. To combat this Digital Radio UK is heading up a £10 million two-year awareness campaign.

But what can be done if you love your broadcasts but don’t have digital device in your car?

Aftermarket digital radios are readily available, but it will cost you – even the cheapest sets are around £70. If you’re in the market for a new motor, the answer is go for one with DAB fitted as standard, or tick that options box and future-proof your vehicle’s audio setup.

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