Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Brown May Axe Fuel Duty Rise in Bid to Halt Protests

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Brown May Axe Fuel Duty Rise in Bid to Halt Protests

Article excerpt

Byline: PAUL WAUGH

THE GOVERNMENT'S planned 2p-a-litre rise in fuel duty may be scrapped this autumn in an attempt by Gordon Brown to prevent a repeat of the crippling petrol protests of 2000.

The U-turn is being considered by the Treasury as a last resort if world oil markets remain volatile ahead of the scheduled tax increase in September.

The Chancellor today concentrated on pushing for an increase in oil production as Opec countries met in Beirut to discuss plans to boost output by two million barrels a day. But with lorry drivers and farmers threatening a new wave of demonstrations, ministers have also drafted emergency plans to get tough with any bid to blockade oil depots.

Troops and police will be posted immediately to protect refineries, speed limits imposed and train ticket prices cut to cope with any shortages. Unlike four years ago, ministers will act much more quickly to get the army to drive oil tankers. Both Britain and the US hope today's Opec meeting of the world's biggest oil producers will lead to a drop in prices triggered by al Qaeda attacks on Saudi Arabia and rising global demand. …

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