British Prime Minister Tony Blair ruled out making concessions over petrol pump prices yesterday, despite spreading protests across the country and appeals by business leaders.
Scores of filling stations have run dry, mainly in northwest England, with dozens more rapidly running short of supplies.
Truckers, farmers and taxi drivers have staged pickets and blockades of oil refineries and depots and led go-slow protests along key roads.
But Blair indicated that his government, which prides itself on its fiscal prudence, would not give way to their demand for a cut in fuel tax to offset the burden of soaring crude oil prices. “We cannot and will not alter government policy on petrol through blockades and pickets,” he said. “That’s not the way to make policy in Britain, and as far as I’m concerned it never will be.” According to the Paris-based International Energy Agency, pump prices here are the highest in Europe.
Truckdriver strikes against high petrol prices may spread in Germany, following similar actions in France, Britain, and Belgium, a spokesman said yesterday.
“We are very concerned and are ready to demonstrate nationwide to show our unhappiness with the government,” Adolf Zubel, vice -president of the BGL federation of cargo tranporters said. German truckers had demonstrated in small groups on Friday and Saturday in actions following massive strikes in France against high gas prices. – AFP
©--Agence France Presse.