PM looks for fuel price solution

  • Brown meets with suppliers
  • Plans to step up North Sea output
  • Hopes supply increase will lower prices
Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling were due to meet oil industry leaders in Scotland today as they came under growing pressure to curb soaring fuel prices.

The move comes after road hauliers mounted high-profile protests in London and South Wales yesterday, with hundreds of lorry drivers demanding cuts in the duty on diesel to help save the British haulage industry.

However, Brown has warned that there is no easy answer to the problem of high fuel prices. He said that international action would be needed to bring down the price of oil, which has increased from $10 a barrel 10 years ago to a high of $135 a barrel yesterday.

At today's meeting, it is believed that Brown plans to ask energy chiefs to step up the output of oil from Britain's North Sea oil fields.

At the same time, there are signs that the Government is preparing for a U-turn on huge rises in road and petrol tax, which are set to affect millions of motorists in the coming months.

After warnings from MPs that the party was alienating ordinary voters, two Cabinet ministers, Jack Straw and John Hutton, suggested yesterday that the Pre-Budget report in the autumn would contain changes to plans set out by the Chancellor in March.
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