10 November 2000
Farming unions condemn fuel convoy
By FWi staff
FARMING unions have called for demonstrators travelling in convoy from Tyneside to London in protest at fuel tax levels to end their action.
The Farmers Union of Wales has announced that it supports calls by leading fuel campaigner Brynle Williams for an immediate end to the protests.
FUW President Bob Parry said this was a sensible step following Gordon Browns pre-budget statement and floods that have devastated the country.
In his statement the Chancellor said farmers will no longer pay vehicle tax for tractors and other agricultural vehicles, and that red diesel duty will be frozen.
“Mr Williams believes the way forward is through consultation, not confrontation,” said Mr Parry.
“The FUW agrees, and has called on members to lobby Members of Parliament and Assembly Members at their local constituency surgeries in an effort to reduce the tax on fuel still further in the March budget.
“The protestors have made their point forcefully to the Government, and now is the time to maintain the pressure by putting the same points to politicians at a local level.”
Earlier the National Farmers Union of Scotland urged members not to take part in current protests, saying they were a big mistake.
NFUS president Jim Walker said Chancellor Gordon Browns concessions this week were a step in the right direction.
While more needed to be done for rural areas, he said, the timing of immediate protests could do incalculable damage if hard-won public support is lost.
By late Friday afternoon the National Farmers Union had not come out with an announcement on its position.