Road Fuel (Variation in Prices)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 6th October 2022.

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Photo of Stuart McMillan Stuart McMillan Scottish National Party

1. To ask the Scottish Government what engagement it has had with the Competition and Markets Authority regarding the impact on Scotland of its investigation into the variation of prices across the United Kingdom in relation to the supply of road fuel. (S6O-01436)

Photo of Ivan McKee Ivan McKee Scottish National Party

I am aware of the impact on the people of Scotland from the increased fuel prices this year and of reports of inconsistent pricing at forecourts across the country. I was therefore pleased to learn that the United Kingdom Government had asked the

Competition and Markets Authority to launch an urgent review of the road fuel market.

Sarah Cardell, who is the CMA’s interim chief executive, has been in contact with the Scottish Government to outline the review’s initial findings and offer opportunities for engagement as the full market study is undertaken. The Deputy First Minister, John Swinney, welcomed the CMA’s engagement and offered the services of relevant Scottish Government and Transport Scotland officials who might be required.

The Scottish Government stands ready to work with the CMA to improve outcomes for consumers and businesses. Earlier in the year, I met the CMA to establish relationships for working on such situations.

Photo of Stuart McMillan Stuart McMillan Scottish National Party

The minister will be aware that Inverclyde has some of the highest pump prices in Scotland. I have challenged those prices, but Morrisons, Tesco and BP claim that they are competitive locally. I recognise that there is also wide variation across the country.

I have previously highlighted in the chamber the impact that such prices have had on social care workers. It is worrying that a new community care survey suggests that a majority of social workers are also out of pocket because mileage allowances are inadequate as a result of rising fuel costs. Will the minister echo my call to companies such as BP, Tesco and Morrisons, which supply fuel in my constituency and have collectively made billions in profits in recent years, to put their customers first in the cost of living crisis and in particular to stop ripping off my Greenock and Inverclyde constituents?

Photo of Ivan McKee Ivan McKee Scottish National Party

I recognise the pressure that is on Stuart McMillan’s constituents and others across the country as a result of high fuel costs and I acknowledge the reported inconsistent pricing in the Inverclyde area. Such reports from road users across the country justify the CMA’s review of the UK’s road fuel market.

The CMA has confirmed that its inquiry will cover the factors that drive local price variation and any steps that could be taken to improve local competition. We expect the subsequent recommendations from the market study to be appropriately actioned by the UK Government when the study is published later this year. We recognise that some companies are making excess profits in the cost crisis, which is why we have made it clear that any new support from the UK Government should be funded in part by an enhanced windfall tax.