THE OFFICE of Fair Trading have promised to carry out further investigations into why remote parts of the UK, like Shetland, pay exorbitant fuel prices compared to the rest of the country.
OFT officials were pressed by isles parliamentarians Alistair Carmichael and Tavish Scott in London this week, calling on them to look again at the fuel market in Orkney and Shetland.
The OFT has already looked at the issue and claims the evidence they have found does not justify the use of legal powers to intervene in the market.
However this week they pledged to look again and produced preliminary figures by the spring.
Mr Carmichael is urging people with concerns about the price of fuel to get in touch with him at CARMICHAELA@parliament.uk.
He said he had been pressing the OFT since he was first elected 10 years ago and said their failure to get to grips with the problem was “a real disappointment”.
He said: “It is no surprise that the OFT do not have the answers they need to justify formal intervention when they have been so reluctant to ask the necessary questions to get this data. The message does seem to be getting through but it has been a difficult and frustrating process to get there.
“Although the assurances we received at the meeting are a case of ‘better late than never’, I am pleased that the OFT have recognised that they need more data on market conditions in more remote and island communities.
“I will be meeting with them again in the New Year to discuss their work as it progresses and would encourage constituents who have concerns over the way we are forced to buy our fuel to get in touch.”
Mr Scott added: “In island communities like Shetland, high fuel prices affect almost everything we do. Every time we get in the car we are paying a premium that I do not believe is right or can be justified. The work that the OFT is now undertaking should make the extent of this problem clear. What we will then need to see is concrete action to ensure that local people are getting a fair deal on their fuel.”
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