As part of his Autumn Statement, Chancellor George Osborne has announced that fuel duty will remain frozen until at least mid-2015. The decision has already been widely welcomed by the fleet industry in general. David Bizley, chief engineer for the RAC, said: 'The negative impact of fuel duty on economic growth is now acknowledged by the Treasury. 'With fuel duty already frozen until May 2015, we had feared an early return to the fuel duty escalator system _ a deeply unpopular practice which led to a series of fuel duty hikes _ but, for now, it appears that is not going to be the case. 'While we are currently enjoying low pump prices as a result of the lower world oil price this may change quickly, and it will be reassuring to fleet managers that the taxation scheme is not about to change.î Though the news of the freeze has been welcomed, there are some within the motoring sector who think that prices should have been cut rather than left as they are.æ Andrew Hodgsen, a senior manager with Strategic Fleet Consultancy at Lex Autolease, was one of the first to voice his concerns: 'British businesses are burdened with some of the highest fuel prices in Europeî said Hodgsen. 'Reducing fuel duty would provide them with an immediate cashflow boost as they look to capitalise on the opportunities presented by the recovering economy. 'Unfortunately the Government's decision not to reduce fuel duty means they remain saddled with this costly overhead.î Richard Burnett, chief executive of the Road Haulage Association (RHA), was also disappointed, having been hoping for a cut of at least 3p per litre. Mr Burnett noted that as a result of current low oil prices, duty now accounted for nearly 70 per cent of the price of a litre of fuel. Mr Burnett also criticised the chancellor for not addressing either plug-in grants or electric vehicles in the statement. 'The financial incentive of a plug in grant has made electric vehicles more affordable for businesses and motorists in general,î he said. 'Rather than remove this grant in 2017 or when vehicle sales reach 50,000, we would have preferred to see a phased reduction to ensure the fledgling electric vehicle industry is not damaged by a sudden drop in sales.î