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New war on fuel prices

THE NORTHERN isles three Liberal Democrat Parliamentarians have asked the Office of Fair Trading to examine why fuel prices are rising so sharply in Shetland and Orkney.
Alistair Carmichael MP and MSPs Tavish Scott and Liam McArthur wrote to the OFT amid warnings that heating fuel oil could rise by up to 70 per cent.
The three men have said they believe the current price increases stem from longstanding problems with the fuel market in the northern isles and are urging the OFT to investigate and secure a better deal for consumers in Orkney and Shetland.

Mr Carmichael said: “People in the northern isles are already forced to pay well over the odds for their fuel, whether this is petrol or heating oil. The distribution arrangements for the heating oil market in particular are a cause of significant concern and greater scrutiny is required to secure a better deal for consumers in Orkney and Shetland. An OFT investigation would be an important first step in this respect.”

Mr Scott added: “Sullom Voe is in our midst. Yet we still face record fuel prices and the fact is that only one company brings Shetland’s fuel to the islands from Grangemouth. The company holds a monopoly position and therefore can charge what it likes. So the international rise in crude oil prices and their impact on what we pay at the pump is worsened by a monopoly supplier. That must be investigated and quickly.”
Mr McArthur added: “The high cost of fuel places a real burden on Orkney residents and businesses. For most a car is not a luxury, it’s a necessity, so they have no choice but to pay up and buy the fuel they need.  With our long heating season Orkney suffers high levels of fuel poverty but the high cost of heating oil makes it even worse. The price differential over Scottish mainland prices cannot be justified.”