Business leaders in Birmingham yesterday urged the Chancellor to abandon his planned rise in fuel duty as new figures show that the soaring price of oil and gas had given the Treasury a huge, unexpected windfall.
Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry says that British Chambers of Commerce statistics illustrate "the staggering amount" the Treasury has made since October - the last time fuel duty increased, by 2p per litre.
It is estimated that in the six months since then the Government has received £3.383 billion from tax and VAT from North Sea oil of which £1.7 billion represents the surplus over and above what it expected to get.
Government estimates were based on $58.1 per barrel and $68pb respectively in the Budget Statement in March and the pre-Budget Statement in October.
The oil price has for the most part been fluctuating between $90pb and $100bp.
The BCC's model has been developed with the help of accountants Grant Thornton and follows the submission of a letter to the Treasury, which included the signatures of 700 businesses campaigning against the planned fuel duty rise this April.
Katie Teasdale, the BCI's policy adviser, said: "Given the economic difficulties now facing businesses in 2008, we urge the Government to realise the damaging effect these rises will have on the competitiveness of British business, and to scrap the next 2p hike."