Fleet News

Blair stands firm on fuel tax

PRIME Minister Tony Blair is standing firm on his pledge not to reduce the 76p in the pound the Government takes in fuel duty following Dump the Pump protests and the national campaign to boycott filling stations every Monday. It was business as usual for fleets who, while in favour of any move which would reduce operating costs, were clearly not changing routines to accommodate the campaign's call that 'doing nothing achieves nothing'.

The first protest day on Tuesday also coincided with the outbreak of a new forecourt war as oil giants BP Amoco, Shell, Texaco and Esso announced 1p-2p per litre reductions as crude oil prices started to fall. These came on the heels of pump price cuts of up to 4p per litre by supermarket chains Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrisons.

Few petrol stations across Britain were reported to be deserted on Tuesday, but Dump the Pump - whose organisers say more than 100,000 people have signed a petition held online at its dumpthepump.com website - has become the catalyst for a number of high profile campaigns highlighting fuel taxes.

The Conservative Party, for instance, has stepped up demands on the Government to cut fuel taxes by launching its own petrol tax website and petition as part of a Fuel Tax Action Day led by Shadow Transport Minister Bernard Jenkin, and the RAC Foundation is urging all drivers to write to Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown setting out how the price of petrol is affecting them personally.

Edmund King, executive director of the RAC Foundation, said the fuel price issue could affect the outcome of the next General Election: 'Dump the pump was a one-day gesture,' he said. 'What we need are fiscal measures to help rural, disabled, elderly, families and businesses beat the current crisis.'

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