It’s a borderline judgment whether to pay any attention to today’s budget. The general election will almost certainly be called on Tuesday 6 April, so there’s a good chance this budget will never be enacted.

Indeed, should the Conservatives win on 6 May, there’ll be a new, much wider ranging ‘emergency’ budget in the summer.

Budget 2010 - fuel tax rise confirmed

That said, the motorist didn’t get too much of a kicking today, but faces bigger taxes in the future. The feared 3p rise in fuel duty will now be phased in ‘with an increase of one pence per litre on 1 April 2010, one pence per litre on 1 October 2010, then 0.76 pence per litre on 1 January 2011’.

However, Alistair Darling also says that he intends to increase fuel duty by one pence per litre ‘in real terms’ every 1 April from 2011 to 2014. The April Fool in that statement is ‘real terms’.