18 September 2000
Ministers plan to thwart fuel threat

By FWi staff

GOVERNMENT ministers have held talks with oil-company bosses to discuss what they can do to thwart any further fuel blockades by farmers.

Home secretary Jack Straw is the chairman of a new task force which aims to determine what can be done.

Other senior ministers at the meeting in London on Monday (18 September) included trade and industry secretary Stephen Byers.

Chief secretary Andrew Smith, transport minister Lord Macdonald, Scottish minister Donald Dewar and Welsh secretary Rhodri Morgan also attended.

Senior oil industry bosses involved include Chris Gibson-Smith of BP, David Carr of Esso, David Dodd of Texaco and Charles Henderson, of TotalFinaElf.

Farmers and hauliers have threatened further blockades of fuel terminals unless ministers move to reduce fuel tax by Monday, 13 November.

But Mr Straw said “Our complex society relies on just-in-time supply chains and benefits from their efficiency.”

He added: “But these arrangements – and therefore the life of the nation – are particularly vulnerable to disruption.”

“It is essential to ensure that we reduce that possibility to the minimum, and that is what this taskforce will consider.”