HC Deb 23 November 1995 vol 267 cc791-2
14. Mr. Jim Cunningham

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much revenue the Treasury has received since 1993 as a result of (a) the restrictions in respect of fuel duty rebates and (b) increases in fuel duty. [705]

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory

The freeze in fuel duty rebate announced by my right hon. and learned Friend in the 1993 Budget is likely to have raised about £90 million of revenue over the two subsequent years. The increases in fuel duties announced in that Budget and in last year's Budget will have raised around £4 billion over the same period.

Mr. Cunningham

How have those tax increases helped the motor car and passenger transport industries—or is this another of the 21 Tory taxes?

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory

The hon. Gentleman should acknowledge that the fuel duty rebate paid to bus companies is worth about £225 million a year. If we add the similar amount paid in subsidy by local authorities, we find that about £500 million is paid to bus companies and their passengers, helping the companies with the good work that they do.

Mr. John Greenway

Do not increases in fuel duty impact harshly and unfairly on those who live and work in rural areas? While the Government's duty increases may be defensible on environmental grounds, does my hon. Friend agree that the 50 per cent. hike in fuel duty recommended by Opposition parties would be deeply damaging to the rural community?

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory

I fully understand and accept my hon. Friend's final observation—and, as I represent a rural constituency, I also appreciate his first point.