13 October 2000
Protest leader slams Blair ‘brinksmanship’

By FWi staff

A FARMER who led protests against fuel tax levels has accused the Prime Minister of playing “a dangerous game of brinkmanship” on the issue.

Brynle Williams, who brought farmer demonstrators to Stanlow oil refinery in Cheshire, warns that the Government is not doing enough to satisfy protesters.

This is despite reports that Chancellor Gordon Brown is looking to make concessions without caving in to demands to directly cut fuel tax.

Protesters who almost brought the country to a standstill last month have set the Government a 60-day deadline to come up with a formula.

The growing crisis in the Middle East, which could push up oil prices, has increased pressure for some Government action.

“Mr Blair is deceiving the public, lulling them into a false sense of security that prices at the pumps arent going to escalate,” Mr Williams told BBC Online.

“What we want is parity with Europe. The Government have done nothing in the last 30 days to suggest that.

“Mr Blair is playing a game of brinkmanship, and it is a very dangerous game.”

BBC Online reports that Mr Brown is considering extending the “red diesel” scheme, which offers diesel to farmers at a discount of 42ppl, to road hauliers.

And he is said to be looking to tax foreign lorries which arrive in the UK by introducing tax discs for all lorries using UK roads.

The government is also reported to be considering helping hauliers replace old vehicles with newer, more fuel-efficient lorries.

Earlier this week, it was reported that the Chancellor was thinking of a reduced rural car tax, although this was dismissed by a Treasury spokesman.

Farmers and hauliers are demanding action from the government by 13 November, or say they will resume protests.