New coalition U-turn as Osborne freezes fuel duty

Fuel duty will be frozen until the end of the year, George Osborne announced today in another significant Budget U-turn.

The decision comes hot on the heels of U-turns on static mobile homes, pasties and charitable tax relief.

"This will fuel our recovery at this very difficult economic time for the world," the chancellor told the Commons today.

The announcement came just ahead of a Labour motion on the issue, leading some observers to pencil it in as a win for shadow chancellor Ed Balls.

"This is the fastest U-turn in history," the shadow chancellor said.

"Labour called for this help for families and businesses this morning and I welcome the fact the chancellor backed down this afternoon. 

"With U-turns on petrol, pasties, caravans, charities and churches, George Osborne's Budget is now in tatters – a truly omni-shambles of a Budget from a part-time Chancellor whose reputation is now badly damaged."

Some analysts suggested it may have been organised to placate Tory MPs ahead of tonight's 1922 committee.

With plans for Lords reform going ahead and Labour planning on heightening backbench divisions on the issue, Downing Street will be keen to try and keep Tory MPs onside.