10 November 2000
Poor turnout for fuel-tax convoy
By FWi staff
AROUND 70 lorries and tractors have set off from Tyneside to petition the Government in London over fuel tax.
Organisers had hoped for hundreds of vehicles, and numbers will be depleted as tractors were expected to peel away soon after the start, reports BBC Online.
Protesters have persisted with the “Jarrow Crusade”, despite concessions in spite Chancellor Gordon Browns pre-Budget speech on Wednesday.
The Chancellor said farmers will no longer pay vehicle tax charges for tractors and other agricultural vehicles, and red diesel duty will be frozen at current rates.
Other measures include reducing tax on low-sulphur fuel; lowering “road” tax for lorries; and a “Brit disc” to force foreign lorries to pay towards UK road costs.
Several constabularies have followed the example of North Yorkshire police and banned the convoy from town and city centres, reports the Financial Times.
Protesters have been informed that they face arrest for traffic offences and loss of hauliers licences if there are breaches of traffic laws, says The Times.
The Independent says they could face three months jail if the deliberately obstruct traffic or deviate from an agreed route.
The newspaper reports divisions among the fuel protesters, with the Hauliers and Farmers Alliance accusing the Peoples Fuel Lobby of acting rashly.
Lenny Johnson of the and Farmers Alliance told the newspaper the other group should have waited longer to see the effects Government concessions.
There is little support for the convoy in the morning newspapers.
The Independent says hoped the convoy “will collapse and disperse” as Government concessions mean it has “no case whatsoever”.
A similar line is taken by the Daily Express, which tells protesters: “Youve had the cash, now call off the protest.”
The Daily Mail agrees, saying some demands have been met and that the convoy is “a protest too far”.
However, it adds that there is “something sinister” about the way the Government is treating the “legitimate and peaceful” campaign.
The Mail is uneasy about “instructions from London” preventing protesters entering towns, and “relentless demonisation” of protest leaders.
- The Guardian 10/11/2000 page 13
- Financial Times 10/11/2000 page 1, 4 and 27
- TheTimes 10/11/2000 page 16 and 18
- The Daily Telegraph 10/11/2000 page 2 and 29
- The Independent 10/11/2000 page 1, 8, Review page 3 and 4
- Daily Mail 10/11/2000 page 8 and 12
- Daily Express 10/11/2000 page 2 and 12