Paying at the pumps

March 14th, 2011

The rise in oil prices and the VAT hike have been bad news for motorists, as anyone who has been to the pumps lately will testify.

Filling your car up is an expensive business and it is no wonder people are starting to question why they are paying through the nose just to get around by car.

Of course, we have the Inverclyde tariff, created by a lack of competition, which means we are paying more than our near neighbours.

I have had a frustrating time trying to have this inequity addressed, challenging the monopoly which the regulators have failed to recognise or act on.

With instability and change in the Middle East and North Africa, there is a real threat that oil prices will continue to rise and push prices up even more.

Against that background, I believe the Tory Government must think again about the VAT rise that is hurting families and added nearly 3p to the price of petrol.

And come April, motorists should be given some welcome relief by the postponement of annual fuel duty rise in April.

These are practical measures that would spare hard-working people whose wages are already being squeezed by the other rises in living costs.

The SNP Government in Edinburgh would have us believe that the problem could be fixed by a fuel duty regulator, an idea they have borrowed off their friends the Tories.

The reason David Cameron has had to abandon the idea is because it is ‘unworkable’, a fact confirmed by the independent Office for Budget Responsibility.

It is disingenuous of this SNP Government to pretend otherwise.

In urban areas like Inverclyde, we pay a premium for petrol because there is a lack of competition between suppliers, something which could be addressed through planning laws.

But rather than tackle something they do have power over, it is far easier to call on someone else to deal with the problem.

With the situation getting worse, people want to see action, not words.