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PM David Cameron hints tax hike at pumps may be scrapped

David Cameron has dropped a strong hint that the Government will scrap a planned 1p-a-litre rise in fuel duty in next week's Budget.

The Prime Minister said he recognised the “pain” that families and small businesses were feeling, as petrol prices crept over the £1.30-a-litre mark and pointed out that the Budget was imminent.

He was urged to tackle the “ridiculously high” fuel prices during Commons question time, when SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson warned that rising costs could force people out of work.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said yesterday that UK unemployment rose by 27,000 in the three months to the end of January to 2.53m, the highest figure since 1994.

The number of 16 to 24-year-olds out of work also increased by 30,000 to 974,000, the highest since records began in 1992.

But the number of people claiming Jobseeker's Allowance fell by 10,200 in February to 1.45m.

Mr Robertson said yesterday: “Today's statistics show that unemployment has gone down in Scotland but gone up in the rest of the UK.

“Will you ensure that the trend of lower unemployment in Scotland is not endangered by ridiculously high fuel prices and ridiculously high fuel duty in what is still the largest oil-producing nation in the European Union?”

Mr Cameron replied: “In terms of fuel duty, you know that we have a Budget coming up.

“But I know the pain that families and small businesses are feeling from the huge numbers of fuel duty increases that were put through by the last Government.”

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