With fuel prices soaring across Europe, British lorry drivers have taken their protest against the high costs to the door of the British government. Hundreds of trucks descended on London in lengthy convoys that caused widespread traffic disruption.
The hauliers say they are struggling to stay in business: “I had three trucks of my own but come January I had to get rid of them with the rising cost of fuel and everything, so I sold them. I had three really good drivers and that’s the bit that hurt me, to get rid of my drivers. But, because, at the end of the day, if I didn’t the company was going to go under,” said Martin Archcock, an owner/driver.
Bosses like him want the government to give them a fuel rebate as essential users to keep the country moving. Britain has the highest fuel tax in the EU and the price surge is hitting drivers particularly hard. The cost of diesel has risen by a third since this time last year.
The protest culminated with the handover of a petition at Downing Street. Under-fire Prime Minister Gordon Brown will be mindful that similar action over fuel costs dented his predecessor Tony Blair’s popularity. Leaders across Europe may well have been watching events in the UK with a wary eye.