Government needs to crack down on supermarket fuel profiteering

Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, today hit out at news that the big supermarket chains are increasing petrol and diesel prices at the pump as a response to refinery closures and a strike by a group of tanker drivers – including local drivers at distribution company Wincanton based at Stockton-on-Tees.

Tom said “According to what I have been told by both the RAC and the AA, the big supermarket chains have put up to 1p a litre on the price of diesel and unleaded petrol and that, on average across the UK, diesel has risen to 142.32p (from 142.21p) per litre and is now within a fraction of a new record. Petrol has risen to 134.03p per litre (from 133.89p).

This is sheer profiteering and is based on scare stories that there may be a fuel shortage – scare stories that are driving people to fill up their tanks.

The reality is that Petroplus is in administration, and the administrators are working flat out to find a new buyer to resume production. In terms of the Wincanton drivers dispute, the onus is clearly on the company to withdraw their plans to cut wages by up to 20%. According to my research this firm saw its profits soaring by £0.5 billion last year – a 37% increase on 2009, and that directors pay has increased by £500,000 – 41.7%. Given this, it is little wonder that the strike ballot was won by a margin of 83%. Wincanton should withdraw the pay cut threat and instead sit down with their drivers and their union to settle the dispute.

All of this just shows how the ordinary public – who need their cars to get from A to B – are being ripped off by big business.”

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