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Business Round-Up – 17 February 202017/02/2020
Supermarket giants Tesco and Morrisons and BP have declined talks with Inverclyde Chamber and MSP to discuss petrol prices in Inverclyde.
Furious MSP Stuart McMillan believes motorists are being cheated at the pumps, with prices well in excess of neighbouring areas.
He has demanded to know why fuel prices here are sometimes 10p higher than those in local authorities next door.
He asked Tesco, Morrisons and BP for a roundtable meeting – alongside Inverclyde Chamber of Commerce – to discuss the situation.
But Tesco has turned down the offer, and Morrisons and BP have not responded.
Mr McMillan said:
“I find it unacceptable that Tesco is not prepared to engage in a roundtable discussion and find it downright disrespectful that Morrisons and BP have chosen not to even respond to my letter.
“I hoped that the meeting would be an opportunity for them to explain why Inverclyde motorists are paying more for fuel than drivers are from surrounding local authority areas.
“I would also have made the case to them that this is grossly unfair, and called on them to reduce their pump costs.
“I will subsequently post the pump costs of all the local garages on a regular basis, so my constituents can make an informed decision on where they wish to fill up their tanks.
“I would, however, urge Tesco, Morrisons and BP to reconsider.”
The lack of co-operation is firing up Mr McMillan’s Fair Fuel Inverclyde campaign, which he revived at the start of this year.
He says he is well aware businesses can charge different prices for the same product – but points out that Asda offers drivers across the UK at the same price.
The MSP says he has also noticed that some rural and remote areas – where there are fewer garages – offer prices lower than in Inverclyde.
“The Fair Fuel campaign isn’t about encouraging people to use their cars more – I’m fully aware that we need to move people out of their cars and onto public transport.
“This is fundamentally about fairness and the people of Inverclyde being charged more than other like-for-like constituencies.
“For some people, public transport is not an option. Regardless, punishing Inverclyde drivers is unjustified and I want to see an end to these inflated prices.”
Inverclyde Chamber President, Gavin McDonagh backed the MSP’s calls.
“Inverclyde Chamber is supportive of finding consistency for fuel prices locally, to ensure that both businesses and residents are receiving a fair deal compared to other locations in Scotland.
“Therefore, any possible reduction in local fuel costs that will deliver consistency across Inverclyde must be our aim.”
A BP spokesperson said:
“At BP-owned and operated service stations we are focused on a premium convenience offer – that is premium branded fuels, convenient locations and a high-quality retail offer through our partnership with M&S.
“We monitor prices daily on a site-by-site basis, and we always try to maintain value for money for our customers.
“Prices can be influenced by a number of factors including local competition, the cost of operating the site, for example, motorway services sites are more expensive to operate, the fluctuation in global oil prices and exchange rate variations.
“BP also continues to invest in our stores and in new services and offers to meet our customer’s needs both now and in the future.”
A Tesco spokesperson said:
“To help our customers save money by shopping at Tesco we’ve cut the price of fuel in our petrol stations by up to 2 pence per litre on unleaded and up to 4 pence per litre on diesel. Customers can also save a further 5 pence per litre when they spend £50 on groceries in-store until the 16th of February.”
Morrisons did not respond to the request for comment.
This article and image appeared in the Greenock Telegraph.