Hundreds of lorry drivers caused road chaos in central London on Tuesday in a protest to demand government help over rising fuel prices. Truckers converged on London in convoy, closing a busy artery and causing traffic backlogs. Similar protests took place in Wales, in a fresh headache for Prime Minister Gordon Brown whose leadership is under fire. The drivers said fuel bills had risen by almost half in a year and demanded a rebate, arguing they were an essential link in keeping the country moving and that many of their businesses were at risk of folding. The protest came as members of the Labour Party, anxious after dismal electoral results and poll ratings, called for a rethink of plans to increase fuel and road taxes. Ministers said the government was listening to people's concerns but they gave no sign of giving in to the hauliers. "If we don't work the country doesn't work. It is as simple as that," said Stephen Taylor, head of warehousing and distribution firm TM Logistics, who estimated that around 85 percent of goods were carried by road around the country. "It is only a matter of a few days before things grind to a halt." "It is really bad, it is affecting all of us," Joe Cook, a lorries' spokesman, told Reuters. Cook said his weekly fuel costs had risen by more than 3,000 pounds since January. "It is going up every day and we just can't cope with the higher prices," he said. Welsh hauliers threatened to blockade ports and refineries if the government failed to come to their aid, stirring memories of refinery blockades in 2000 that brought Britain to a standstill. Prices then hit one pound a litre. In London, more than 200 trucks parked on a main thoroughfare leading into the city centre, police said. Drivers later delivered a petition to Downing Street. DOUBLE THE PRICE Diesel is about 130 pence a litre in Britain, more than double the price in the United States. Hauliers want a cut in fuel duty of 20 to 25 pence a litre. Britain levies the highest fuel duty in the European Union with nearly 65 percent of the pump price of petrol due to tax. As in 2000, the fuel protests began in France, where fishermen have blockaded ports to demand cheaper fuel. President Nicolas Sarkozy suggested using extra revenues from petrol taxes to help sectors affected by high fuel costs. "It is always the same old promises. We will judge the facts. We want concrete (action)," said Yannick Pourchaux, president of the fishing committee of Fecamp in northern France. Adding to Brown's troubles -- his personal approval ratings are scraping rock bottom after 11 months in power -- 42 MPs signed a petition calling for proposed increases in vehicle taxes to be abandoned. Some 30 Labour MPs also called for a proposed two pence per litre rise in fuel tax, already postponed by six months to October, to be shelved. Justice Secretary Jack Straw said the government was listening but would resist a knee-jerk reaction. "The chancellor and the prime minister say they are listening to public concerns and if there are going to be decisions, they could be made in the autumn," he told BBC Radio.