Brown backed by FDs on fuel.

Chancellor Gordon Brown’s stance in the face of fuel tax protester demands last week has won the support of almost half of finance bosses at the head of small-to-medium sized UK businesses.

This week’s Accountancy Age/Reed Marketing Big Question found that 48% of FDs asked whether Brown should have done more to appease the fuel tax protesters said he should not have gone further than his freeze on excise duties.

‘Why should he?’, one anonymous FD retorted. ‘Have I missed something? Are we suddenly French?’

In his pre-Budget report last week, the chancellor announced a freeze on fuel excise duties for another year if fuel prices remain high – measures that will come at a cost of #560m next year at an increase of 1.5p per litre of fuel.

However, a sizeable 43% minority of more than 620 financial directors questioned wanted to see further concessions to the fuel protesters.

Nigel Collin, FD of Mitchanol International, said: ‘Fuel is significant to our economy it is the tax that is disproportionate.’

Another anonymous FD said: ‘The chancellor was in a catch 22 situation. If he did any more for the fuel tax protesters, then he would have to do the same for other groups.’

Pre-Budget round-up, page 5

Pre-Budget special report

Next week: Are you budgeting for higher annual pay rises than last year?

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