Treasury to explain fuel duty stance
The Treasury is to set out the reasons why the government is refusing to cave in to fuel protesters' demands in a paper to be published prior to the chancellor's pre-Budget statement next week.
Treasury minister Stephen Timms will explain the economic consequences of the 26p cut in fuel duty that hauliers and farmers are demanding. Timms believes that such a cut would cost the government £11.8bn causing instability in the economy.
In the paper, Timms will state that if the government did lower fuel duty it would force cutbacks in public services or a 4p increase in income tax.
In a statement to the press a spokesperson said the government recognised the protesters’ grievances, but it was wrong to disrupt the UK’s road network.
Prime minister Tony Blair, meanwhile, vowed he would take vigorous action against to stop disruption from the 25,000 vehicles which protesters claim will converge on London in a fortnight.