Businesses across the Maldon district could face ruin over a planned increase in fuel duty by three pence a litre.

MPs voted to keep the increase, due to take effect in January, in a Commons vote on Monday.

Labour wanted to delay the rise for a second time until at least April, saying "it would be wrong" for the measure to take effect sooner.

Jason Ambrose, operational manager of Arrows Taxis, in Station Road, Maldon, said the increase could have dire consequences for his company.

He said: “The problem is if they rise fuel prices further, we will be losing money.

“We can’t put up the prices any more because we will just lose custom.

“About 50 per cent of our customers are local and just want dropping off in Maldon and Heybridge.

“If we put our prices up they just won’t use us and walk instead."

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