Call for island fuel price probe

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AS THE UK government comes under increasing pressure to postpone the 3p increase on petrol prices, an Arran islander has written to David Cameron and Alex Salmond to ask them to investigate fuel prices on the island.

Log supplier Frazer Barr says the 5p concession on fuel extended to Scottish islands has been swallowed up by price increases and accused retailers of profiteering.

His letter comes as a new economic study says the high cost of fuel in rural areas is stifling economic growth and may even be pricing people out of employment.

In his letter to the Prime Minister, Barr says: “At present a litre of petrol costs us at one retailer 151.9p. We believe this to be profiteering as only a short ferry trip away at Asda Ardrossan it is, at our last check 131.7p. Recently the government announced a 5p concession on fuel prices for Scottish Islands. A short time after, we were back to square one with regards to prices and the 5p concession disappeared due to a price increase. I, as an islander born and bred, do not believe to bring fuel from Grangemouth costs over 20p per litre to bring it 12 miles on the ferry and was wondering if you would be willing to investigate.”

The request to investigate fuel prices on Scottish islands comes as the UK government faces pressure to postpone a 3p per litre rise in duty which is scheduled for January.

Richard Welling, head of transport for the Institute of Economic Affairs, said the cost of petrol was inhibiting economic growth and making it uneconomic for people to travel to low paying jobs.

He said the situation was particularly serious in the Scottish Highlands and Islands where distances were greater and fuel costs often higher than elsewhere.