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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 September 2005, 16:00 GMT 17:00 UK
Brown calls for oil price effort
Gordon Brown

Chancellor Gordon Brown has called for a "concerted effort" by oil-producing countries to bring down prices - but is not offering to cut taxes on petrol.

Ahead of expected fuel duty protests, Mr Brown told the TUC Opec countries to produce more oil and refine more.

He said it was a "global challenge" which needed "global solutions".

But France is to offer fuel tax rebates to farmers and retailers in Austria have cut prices after being threatened with a one-off tax on profits.

'More investment needed'

Belgium, Poland and Hungary have also announced measures to cushion the impact of rising prices on consumers.

Mr Brown called for more worldwide investment in refineries and alternative energies.

He said he understood "the problems being faced by hauliers, farmers and motorists, by ordinary consumers across the country faced with gas and electricity bills at a time of this doubling of oil prices".

BROWN'S FIVE POINT PLAN
Opec to increase oil supply
Opec to open books to show reserves
Windfall from high oil prices to be diverted to funding new production
New World Bank fund to help developing countries invest in alternative sources of energy
New IMF facility to support poor countries hit by shocks in oil and commodities markets

However, Shadow Transport Secretary Alan Duncan accused Mr Brown of laying the blame for his own problems "at the feet of the Arabs".

Freight Transport Association spokesman Geoff Dossetter added that UK hauliers were at a "competitive disadvantage" as a result of a "wretchedly high level of fuel duty".

Panic-buying

Fuel protesters angry at increases in the price of petrol and diesel plan to stage three days of protests this week.

Although they have urged motorists not to panic-buy fuel, there have been long queues reported at some petrol stations over the past 24 hours.

In 2000, blockades of oil refineries caused widespread shortages.

But the government and the oil industry say they have taken steps to ensure protests do not have the same effect.

Mr Brown said price rises were a risk to the world economy and said he had held talks with the finance ministers of all the world's major economies.

Fuel queue
Queues have been building up at some petrol stations

He is calling for 500,000 extra barrels of oil a day to be produced by Opec, the association of oil-exporting nations.

He is also pushing oil-producing nations to divert their current windfall into funding more production and refining facilities.

At the same time, Mr Brown wants more effort put into finding greener alternatives, with the World Bank to set up a fund to help developing countries do the same.

The IMF should create a fund for poorer countries hit by the rising prices, part-funded by Opec, he said.

Demonstrations

The Fuel Lobby protesters say they will start three days of demonstrations if ministers do not meet them on Tuesday.

The group wants the public to "attend" oil refineries on Wednesday to protest.

HAVE YOUR SAY
My dad's garage has not had the delivery it expected today so he's totally run out already
Charlotte, Grimsby, England

Lobby spokesman Andrew Spence said: "We are not calling for a blockade, but if oil companies decide they cannot send out lorries while there is a public presence at their site, then that is a matter for them."

Sir Jonathan Porritt, chairman of the Sustainable Development Commission, said the last thing the government should do was cut fuel duty.

Fuel prices needed to be kept high to drive changes in consumer behaviour and drive investment in new energy efficiency technology.



FROM OTHER NEWS SITES:
ABCNEWS.com Crude Oil Prices Stay Above $65 a Barrel - 4 hrs ago
Daily Mail More trouble than it's worth - 28 hrs ago
Sydney Morning HeraldPetrol protesters to blockade refineries - 33 hrs ago
The Sun Chancellor: You fuels - 35 hrs ago
Telegraph Police to keep roads clear - 36 hrs ago
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