According to the Journal of Commerce, Finance Minister Gordon Brown is expected to make a gesture toward truckers when he details the national budget for 2001 today, just two weeks before a 60-day deadline set by truckers and farmers for action on fuel prices.
While government officials in France, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium made concessions in September to end protests in their respective countries, the British government stood firm against truckers demanding fuel tax cuts. But when Brown met secretly with trucking representatives to discuss their grievances after the protests ended, rumors spread rampant that he will offer some relief from diesel prices, which are currently the highest in Europe.
Truckers want a substantial fuel tax cut to bring the price of diesel closer to levels in continental Europe. But according to JoC, Brown will likely try to minimize the impact on government revenue by offering a modest fuel tax cut along with a reduction in the annual truck license fee.
The industry is also preparing for another confrontation after the Nov. 13 deadline by building up fuel stocks. Trucking companies typically hold between two and five days of supplies, which made them vulnerable during the September protests, but large companies are better prepared for renewed action, the JoC reported.