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Truckers Protest Tax Increase In London

March 22, 1999

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Truck drivers took to the streets in London yesterday to protest increased taxation.

The protest started with a 100-truck convoy crawling along the M2 in Kent bound for the capital. A police escort kept the truckers to the inside lane.
Hundreds of truckers descended on Park Lane in central London, where many parked their trucks, blocking the road. Some of the trucks drove up and down the street slowly, sounding their air horns, causing traffic chaos.
By 11 a.m., an estimated 300 trucks were blocking roads in the Park Lane area and hundreds more were headed into central London. Frank Stears, the trucker behind the demonstration, called on the public to show support for the truck drivers by sounding their car horns at noon.
The action went ahead despite a promise from the government to create a forum to discuss the issues concerning the truckers, who say increased taxation is forcing trucking companies to leave Britain, endangering their livelihoods.
According to the Road Haulage Assn., which is not sanctioning the protest, the decision to raise the duty on diesel fuel will add more than 20,000 pounds to the annual fuel bill of an average 10-truck fleet. An increase in the vehicle excise tax also has truckers upset. The association says an independent report by the Centre for Economic and Business Research estimates as many as 53,000 jobs could be lost from the haulage industry over the next four years.

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