Truckers in Britain , Europe threaten protests about fuel costs

| 9/13/2005

Truckers in Britain are threatening a series of slowdowns unless the government does something about fuel taxes, according to news reports.

British fuel taxes – which account for about 70 percent of prices at the pump – are the highest in the European Union.

Bloomberg news reported that a lobbying group called Less Tax on Fuel was asking the government to cut the taxes. The group said Welsh truckers would start a slow-moving convoy in west Britain on Friday, Sept. 16. The group also said similar protests could occur on highways surrounding London .

The United Kingdom ’s Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown is the British counterpart to the U.S. Treasury Secretary, and he is urging the world’s richest countries to come together and take measures to stabilize oil prices, according to Bloomberg.

Meanwhile, the rest of the European Union is looking for ways to divert similar protests in their own countries. Bloomberg reported that protests were planned by truckers in France and Belgium , and by gas station operators in Italy .

Governments of various countries are responding to the threats in different ways.

Reuters reported that France is planning to give consumers a rebate of 75 euros if windfall tax receipts allow. Poland is planning to cut excise taxes on fuel from Sept. 15 to the end of the year. Hungary is also planning a tax cut, and Belgium plans to reimburse some taxes on home heating oil.