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The BBC's June Kelly
"Thousands will be filling up for long journeys"
 real 28k

Saturday, 29 July, 2000, 18:26 GMT 19:26 UK
Tories stage petrol protest
Petrol station
Activists targeted petrol station forecourts
The Tories have staged a national protest day to highlight the rise in petrol prices under Labour.

Party activists took to town centres to target shoppers and drivers with leaflets, posters and petitions calling for a reduction in petrol taxes


The government has seriously underestimated people's feelings about this

Bernard Jenkin
Shadow transport secretary Bernard Jenkin said after campaigning in Colchester, Essex: "I have never found it so easy to get people to sign a petition. People were storming up to us to sign.

"People are very angry and the government has seriously underestimated people's feelings about this."

He said that in Colchester the Tories had collected more than 2,000 signatures, and said he hoped for similar responses in 325 other constituencies.

The Tories say high fuel taxes have made petrol the most expensive household budget item, overtaking mortgages and food.

They are clearly misleading people

Labour spokesman

The action day on Saturday was been planned ahead of the separate Boycott the Pumps campaign next week and coincides with a supermarket petrol price war.

The government blames petrol prices on high oil costs and is keen to emphasise that the Tories increased taxes on petrol when they were in power.

Graveyard shift

The boycott campaign - also known as Dump the Pumps - is calling on drivers not to use petrol stations on 1 August and every following Monday.

Organisers have urged supporters to turn petrol forecourts into "graveyards".
Bernard Jenkin
Bernard Jenkin: War of words and prices

Supermarkets Morrisons and Sainsbury's launched a petrol price war on Friday in a bid to beat the boycott by slashing an average of 2p a litre off petrol prices.

Tesco joined its rivals in bringing the cost of a litre below 80 pence, with stores offering unleaded at 79.9p a litre on Saturday.

Large petrol retailers such as BP and Shell were expected to follow suit to ensure they keep competitive in the cut-throat market.

During the Tory campaign Mr Jenkin labelled Chancellor Gordon Brown the "greatest highway robber since Dick Turpin", responsible for rocketing petrol prices.

Trust

"Three years ago it cost 37 to fill up the family car; now it costs more than 52," he said.

"The increases in the price of crude oil have been compounded by a 34% increase in fuel tax since 1997 - a far steeper increase than the previous administration."

A Labour Party spokesman said the Tories could not be trusted on petrol prices.

"No-one will believe that after the Tories' 22 tax rises, VAT on fuel and the fuel duty escalator, William Hague is going to cut fuel duties," he said.

"They are clearly misleading people, they have not committed themselves to cut petrol prices."

He also said fuel duty rates had gone up by 57% between March 1992 and November 1996, and the proportion of duty in a litre of petrol was higher under the last administration than it was now.

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See also:

28 Jul 00 | Business
Supermarkets fuel pump price war
18 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Tories: Brown is 'highway robber'
03 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Petrol price row deepens
02 Jul 00 | UK Politics
Blair firm on petrol prices
29 Jun 00 | UK
Motorists plan pump boycott
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