Whyte and the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association director general Norman Donkin were two key absentees from the list of motor industry representatives invited. Both men were furious at the snub and Whyte, who went to London to try to get into the meeting, has now written to Prescott to 'convey some idea of the scale of frustration and anger felt by many of our members'. Claiming that ACFO was 'completely overlooked' for the meeting, Whyte said: 'On an almost daily basis, it is fleet operators and company car drivers who are exhorted to do something about the way we undertake business travel.
'But when there are major policy announcements, it is the people who build and sell the cars who are invited. This approach does nothing to encourage fleet operators to take these matters as seriously as they should be. I demand that for anything similar in the future, this organisation be seriously considered for participation. We have a great deal to offer. Fleet operators are a vital ingredient in the solution - we are not the major cause of the problem.
'I suspect that the events of the last few days will simply have confirmed to many company car drivers and fleet operators that they are, after all, only regarded as a cash-cow to be milked at Government pleasure, and with little investment or recognition coming back.' Donkin, who admitted to being 'pretty upset' at not being invited to the meeting, said he would take the matter up through 'official channels'.