Unfair Fuel Pricing: The Case of Bishop Auckland and Consett
Richard Holden MP outside Consett petrol station

Numerous individuals have observed significant fluctuations in fuel prices across different locations in North West Durham.

The disparity is particularly evident when comparing Bishop Auckland and Consett. In Bishop Auckland, where there is intense competition among fuel stations, prices at the pump vary considerably. On the other hand, in Consett, where the number of forecourts is limited, the price differences are far less pronounced.

We all know that, over the last year, prices at the pump have risen across the board. While this is frustrating in and of itself, much of it can be owed to unavoidable global economic pressures like Putin’s illegal war in Ukraine. However, what is not fair is that prices seem to be unevenly spread. The local pricing differences are so outrageous, Richard Holden MP has been contacted by many constituents who have noticed this, particularly at supermarket forecourts.

People should not be at the mercy of petrol retailers who are quick to put prices up but slow to put them down. At its core, these petrol price differentials hitting local people where it hurt are simply unfair.

Richard has extensively campaigned on this issue for a long time. It is extremely important to many in our area where a car or a van is a necessity to get around. In addition to raising it in Parliament, he also quizzed the highest echelons of the civil service about this. Furthermore, he also met with the Minister about this pressing matter. As a result, an investigation into local pricing structures was triggered.

After all of this, the CMA has just provided an update. It concludes that while the majority of fuel price increases are due to global factors, such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine, indications are that higher pump prices cannot be attributed solely to factors outside the control of the retailers. However, it is not clear how much supermarket bosses in our area really knew. There will now be formal interviews with the supermarkets’ senior management in order to get to the heart of the issues.

Richard Holden MP with Greg Hands (at the time Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth), June 2022

“After so many constituents got in touch and I even noticed the price differentials in Consett myself, I knew something wasn’t right. I’m glad this is finally being looked into, and pleased my hard-fought long-running campaign has been justified.

“Particularly in rural areas like mine, people depend on our local petrol forecourts. I hate to think my constituents are being taken advantage of, so it’s great to see action being taken. I await the conclusion of the formal interviews with serious interest.

“Although I hope that the CMA’s conclusions won’t be in line with my earlier suspicions of foul play, today’s news casts doubt on local pricing strategies. Whilst it is good to see the Government fighting the corner for hardworking people, what I really want is just for prices to come down.”

Commenting, Richard Holden MP

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