Hauliers take fuel protest to Downing St

Scores of hauliers today took their fuel-price protest to the centre of the capital and to the steps of Downing Street.

Travelling from many parts of the country, the lorry drivers lined a specially-closed section of the A40.

Many left their cabs to attend a rally at Marble Arch before a delegation handed in a letter at 10 Downing Street urging Prime Minister Gordon Brown to save the haulage industry by reducing the duty on diesel.

As the peaceful protest - involving around 300 lorries - took place, Chancellor Alistair Darling was under mounting pressure to ditch controversial proposals to increase road tax on gas guzzling cars.

And House of Commons Transport Committee chairman Louise Ellman led MPs' calls for something to be done about prices, although she warned that decisions should not be based "on protests from any one sector".

Some of the hauliers set out in the early hours to take their protest to the capital with some coming from as far away as Shropshire.

The first arrived at their appointed position on the A40 in west London around 10am and others were still arriving two hours later.

Kent-based haulier Peter Carroll, who was one of those handing in the Downing Street letter said the Government was being urged to put the haulage industry into the essential user rebate category, and that 20p-25p should be taken off diesel duty.

Mr Carroll continued: "We hear a lot about the Government wanting to steer the economy through difficult times. Well, one of the biggest ways of steering an economy through difficult times is to cut fuel duty.

"I believe that if Gordon Brown was to pass a drowning man, he would help. To all intents and purposes our industry is a drowning man.

"I plead with the Government to take note of this industry and to listen. I say to the Government that you have the lifeline. All you have to do is use that lifeline to save a fantastic industry that does good for Britain."

One of the first to arrive in London for the protest was John Davis, 49, from Grays, Essex, who is a driver with the Clearserve truck company based at Tilbury, Essex.

A member of the Territorial Army who has served in Iraq with the Royal Signals, Mr Davis said: "Prices have got out of hand and the consumer will eventually pay the price because food costs will rise.

"I think this is a good time to protest. People are feeling the pinch and it's up to the Government to step in and help out where it can. Every time the fuel goes up, tax revenue goes up with it."

Shadow chancellor George Osborne said the Government should perform a U-turn on vehicle excise duty (VED), while more than 30 Labour MPs have signed a Commons motion expressing concern at the retrospective change to VED bans which will affect all cars bought since 2001.

Labour MP Ronnie Campbell, who tabled the motion, said the proposals were unfair.

Business Secretary John Hutton said Mr Darling was listening to what was being said, adding: "We are trying to get this balance right between encouraging choices to go green but not hammering people."

Justice Secretary Jack Straw said he understood lorry drivers' worries and added that Mr Darling and Mr Brown were "listening to public concerns". Mr Straw dismissed any suggestion that Mr Brown's job was under threat.

Mrs Ellman said the price of fuel was a concern, while other MPs warned that some haulage firms might have to close and that the Government should scrap plans to increase fuel duty by 2p as planned this October.

In addition to the demonstration in London, about 100 lorries took part in a fuel protest on the M4 in Wales.

Dave Lasky, of Bob Gay Plant Hire, Llantwit Fardre, Pontypridd, Mid Glamorgan, said: "I wanted to come today because I'm only 24 and it's affecting me more than the older guys. I've got other bills to pay, and I've to pay for my car.

"Something has to be done or I will lose my job.

"I find it disgusting there are so many police here today when so many crimes are going on in the area. This is a peaceful protest."

Later, speaking in Cambridge, Mr Hutton said future generations would pay the price if the Government did not face up to its climate change responsibilities.

He said the Government was right to use tax to encourage motorists to drive greener cars.

He added: "Measures will be needed to help those most at risk of fuel poverty because going green cannot mean going without. But there will be a bigger price to pay if we do nothing."

Suggested Topics
Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
Pepper, the 3ft 11in shiny box of circuits who can tell jokes and respond to human emotions
techDavid McNeill tests the mettle of one of the new generation of androids being developed in Tokyo
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
tech
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SAP Data Migration Consultant

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a FTSE 100 organisation are u...

Programme Support, Coms, Bristol, £300-350p/d

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Linux Systems Administrator

£33000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly successfu...

(Junior) IT Systems Administrator / Infrastructure Analyst

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly ...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice