LOCAL hauliers were among hundreds who lobbied Parliament yersterday (Wednesday) to protest about the escalating cost of fuel. They found an ally in North Devon Lib-Dem MP Nick Harvey, who said the haulage industry had been hit by rising inflation and a

LOCAL hauliers were among hundreds who lobbied Parliament yersterday (Wednesday) to protest about the escalating cost of fuel.They found an ally in North Devon Lib-Dem MP Nick Harvey, who said the haulage industry had been hit by rising inflation and a lack of financial support as well as by the slow down in the housing market.He said: ""I fully understand their concerns. Local hauliers are struggling to cope with the impact of inflation and rising fuel costs on a daily basis. In the current climate there is little left as profit in a company's income. "The haulage industry is an integral party of national trade and as a rural area with limited transport connections and high fuel prices, North Devon haulage companies bear the brunt particularly acutely."I will be making representations to the Treasury and the Department for Work and Pensions to see what can be done to alleviate the burden on an industry that is vital for our economy and essential for trade. "The Government must not avoid any knee-jerk reactions to rising fuel prices which will fail to recognise the wider implications of the problem."Bill Hockin, managing director of William C Hockin (Transport) Ltd of Barnstaple, was among the protestors.He said: ""We desperately need help and need it now. The main issue is tax and the rising costs. The Government needs to work quickly to save manufacturing as taxes and prices are killing industries. "We are basically asking the Government to come in and give us some kind of rebate to face foreign competition and the increases in taxes and oil prices and help us to survive. Haulage companies are falling by the week.