ABD Blasts "Out Of Touch" Transport 2000 Attitude To Fuel Tax Protests
Transport 2000 has claimed that the campaign against high fuel tax is being led by "extreme motoring groups" - a strange way to label the Road Haulage Association and the Federation of Small Businesses, not to mention the two private individuals who began the "dump the pump" campaign.
Lynn Sloman, assistant director of pressure group Transport 2000, is quoted as saying:
"We're fed up with extreme motorist groups whinging about high petrol prices."
She also suggested that groups like the ABD would better spend their efforts campaigning for
"cheaper rail fares, improved rural bus services and safer streets."
"This outburst from Transport 2000 shows breathtaking arrogance," said ABD Chairman Brian Gregory. "If Lynn Sloman thinks that the only people complaining about petrol prices are groups like the Association of British Drivers, she must be living in a dreamworld. Millions of people have had enough of paying through the nozzle for their essential journeys. Insulting them by calling them extremists only shows how out of touch she is. She certainly hasnít a clue what the ABD is all about, nor does she care about ordinary people going about their daily lives."
The ABD says that high fuel taxes:
- Are not fair
- Are not justified on environmental grounds
- Harm the prosperity of us all.
Why should struggling rural families pay more in fuel tax than in income tax?
Supporters of punitive petrol taxation amongst Government and pressure groups cannot even agree about what it is for. Mr Blair thinks it is there to pay for nurses who then cannot afford to travel to work, whereas Ms Sloman thinks it is about saving whatever planet she is living on, which it would not do, even if that planet were in need of saving!
"Lynn Sloman misrepresents what the ABD campaigns for," continues Gregory. "We are a group who believes in positive, multi modal solutions to Britainís transport problems rather than the unworkable mishmash of obstructive anti car measures that groups like T2000 have conned Mr Prescott into pursuing."
Take the three areas she patronisingly suggests we campaign for:
- Lower rail fares. The ABD has always condemned high rail fares. We point out continually that the British government takes £36bn a year from the motorist but that UK rail fares are double the international average, while delays, overcrowding and cancellations spiral. This is a scandal which all transport pressure groups should unite to expose.
- Safer streets. The ABD campaigns for better safety through the only methods that work - improved road user attitudes and skills, together with genuine road improvements. Transport 2000, on the other hand, opposes new bypasses that would benefit residents and passing traffic alike, instead supporting "traffic calming" which makes things worse for all concerned.
- Improved Rural Bus Services. The ABD most certainly does not support huge, fume belching buses pounding country lanes with one passenger on board - the reality of most country bus services, which can never provide an efficient service however much subsidy is pumped in. Instead, this subsidy should go to a community taxi service which takes people where they want to go. Not our suggestion - it came from a regional Transport 2000 rep, and we adopted it because it was a good idea!
"Transport 2000 leadership are showing themselves to be increasingly out of touch with reality, public opinion and even their own organisation," concludes Gregory, "Now the chickens are coming home to roost in the form of sky high fuel prices and chaotic, frustrating streets which are anything but safer, more and more people are realising it is time to dump anti car dogma and move towards a positve transport policy which serves the public rather than trying to bully it."