Food chain to join forces for Whitehall protest Within hours of many protestors ending their refinery vigils on Thursday, food and farming industry leaders were preparing to join forces in a massive new lobbying campaign to persuade the government to cut fuel taxes. And, like the Stanlow pickets, they were hoping for top level meetings with Tony Blair and Nick Brown (right) during the coming weeks. For, although there were sighs of relief when most blockades started to be dismantled, sector leaders warned that the fight would now switch to the Whitehall negotiating table. The British Retail Consortium warned: "This week's protests reflect the scale of the frustration being felt by many retailers, large and small." In addition, several industry groups are planning to picket next weekend's Labour Party conference at Brighton. As one multiple md put it:"We've been bashing away at the government on this issue for months. Perhaps now they will be prepared to listen to us. But no one should think the problem has gone away. Ministers will have to meet the protestors and we want to be in there with them." The 11,000 company Freight Transport Association on Thursday called on Tony Blair to cut the duty on diesel by 15p a litre. A spokesperson said: "Other governments have acted to help their industry. The UK has not." The FTA warned that it was essential industry provided ministers with detail and evidence of the harm that inaction on the issue had been causing to their businesses. NFU president Ben Gill, in an open letter to Tony Blair, said the nationwide protests reflected the scale of the anger and frustration being felt by farmers and the countryside at large. "Extortionate road fuel taxes must be cut. We want an immediate meeting with Nick Brown," he added. {{NEWS }}