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Thursday, 9 November, 2000, 10:37 GMT
Fuel protests to go ahead
Protesters in London during their previous demonstration
Fuel protesters are determined to go ahead with their threatened convoy from the north east to London despite the concessions unveiled by the chancellor in his pre-Budget report.

Gordon Brown moved to meet concerns of the fuel protesters by freezing duty on petrol and cutting duty on green fuels, but stopped way short of delivering the 26p a litre cut lorry drivers and farmers had been hoping for.


The 715 average off road tax... well we'll wait and see how that pans out

PFL member
Speaking for the People's Fuel Lobby, David Handley said bluntly: "We are not happy."

He said the chancellor's detailed statement would have to be digested, but told the BBC: "It is not the cut we were looking for, it's not a cut right across the board."

Cuts on duty on the more environmentally friendly ultra-low sulphur petrol and diesel of up to 3p a litre would take some time to filter down to the average motorist, Mr Handley said.

But the government says the new fuel should be available for motorists across the UK within the next few months, with the chancellor hoping it will account for 100% of petrol and diesel sales by next year.

We're coming to London

Mr Handley added: "We still stand by the 60-day moratorium. We will be coming to London on the 14th of November."

The farmer was at pains to make it clear that the four-day long convoy due to set off on Friday would be a peaceful protest.

"We will ask this government to explain why it couldn't have been more and why it couldn't have been right across the board," he said, pointing out the purpose of the convoy.

Speaking ahead of the chancellor's statement, the prime minister, who was obviously aware that the contents of Mr Brown's speech would not give fuel protesters everything they were calling for, said: "Whatever the grievances people have about the cost of fuel, I hope we can agree on two things.

"Those grievances should be pursued in a lawful and proper manner and not try to bring either the food supplies of the country or to bring the country's motorways or in any other respect bring the country to a halt."

Last time the fuel protesters demonstrated in the capital there was traffic chaos, and in their blockades which took place in September much of the country was brought to a standstill.

Wait and see

But there was some faint praise for the chancellor from some members of the PFL, with Robbie Burns in Scotland saying: "I welcome the three-pence cut in fuel, that's as much as I could have hoped for, to be truthful.

"The 715 average off road tax... well we'll wait and see how that pans out."

And turning to the 'Brit disc' to be brought in for foreign lorries entering the UK, Mr Burns said: "I'll be waiting with interest to see what price he's going to charge them for coming in to our country and taking the work of the British and Scottish hauliers."

In his speech in the Commons the chancellor also announced that as well as freezing duty on red diesel, he would abolish vehicle excise duty on tractors and other agricultural vehicles.


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06 Nov 00 | Business
10 Oct 00 | Business
07 Nov 00 | UK Politics
07 Nov 00 | Business
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