To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations she has received over (a) the retail price of petrol distributed through the oil companies' own forecourts and (b) the wholesale price for petrol charged to independent retailers of fuel.
The price of motor fuel is a subject on which I receive a considerable amount of correspondence from many parts of the community. However I have not received any substantive representations on the issue referred to by the hon. Member.
If the wholesale or retail price for petrol raises competition concerns it should be brought to the attention of the Director General of Fair Trading, who is responsible for investigating allegations of anti-competitive behaviour.
The Director General has investigated differential pricing by oil companies and has found that the competition legislation has not been breached.
As a result of concerns which have been expressed about the operation of the fuel market in those areas, the Office of Fair Trading undertook investigations in the Highlands and Islands and Western Isles, covering a range of matters, including information regarding the wholesale and retail pricing of fuel.
The OFT published reports in July last year and October this year, which concluded that, in the Highlands and Islands area as a whole and also in the Western Isles, there was no evidence of any sustained widening of pump price differentials as compared with the rest of the UK.