MP welcomes fuel price probe

AN official investigation into petrol and diesel prices has been welcomed by a local MP.

Earlier this year Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill MP Tom Clarke hit out at the rising costs of filling up at the petrol pump.

Now the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is to look into the reasons why prices have soared by up to 43 per cent in the last five years.

OFT director Claire Hart said: “We are keenly aware of continuing widespread concern about the pump price of petrol and diesel and we have heard a number of different claims about how the market is operating.

“We have therefore decided to take a broad based look at this sector, to provide an opportunity for people to share their concerns and evidence with us.

“This will help us determine whether claims about competition problems are well-founded and whether any further action is warranted.

“The OFT will be gathering information over the next six weeks, and plans to publish its findings in January 2013.”

But Mr Clarke urged the OFT researchers to broaden their remit to include the role the Government plays in pricing.

He explained: “The response from the OFT is most welcome but their terms of reference are somewhat limited. I am sure every consumer wants to be reassured that there is fair competition in this market without garages cheating customers. That however addresses only unfair competition.

“In these difficult economic times what is driving motorists to despair is the fact that sixty per cent of what is paid at the pumps goes straight into Treasury coffers.

“This means that when you £30 of petrol in your tank £18 of that goes straight to the Government. At a time when petrol prices are already sky high, fuel taxes are hitting families incredibly hard.”