Island fuel protesters pump up pressure for fair prices

Managing Director of GB Oils, Sam Chambers struggles through the protesters outside the Council Offices in Stornoway the morning.

Managing Director of GB Oils, Sam Chambers struggles through the protesters outside the Council Offices in Stornoway the morning.

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The head of GB Oils - the parent company of Scottish Fuels – ran a gauntlet of protesters outside Council Offices in Stornoway this morning as a vocal group had gathered to declare their disgust at the rise in the oil distributor’s fuel prices, which has a direct impact on pence per litre at the pumps.

Managing Director of GB Oils, Sam Chambers had agreed to meet privately with Western Isles councillors, MP Angus MacNeil and MSP Alasdair Allan to explain the company’s position.

The protest gathered a vocal crowd, who shouted their demand: "We want fair fuel!"

The protest gathered a vocal crowd, who shouted their demand: "We want fair fuel!"

Following the price hike two weeks ago Scottish Fuels had went on the record to say: “Our prices are determined by looking at the price in the market over the previous five days, taking an average and then setting our price at that for the next five days.

“The market isn’t great at the moment, but there is no chance of us making changes to the tracking model we use to determine our prices.”

They went on to refute allegations that they were attempting to counteract the 5p fuel duty discount scheme announced by government, saying; “Why would we want to take away from the discount. It’s just not even a consideration.”

Passing vans and cars tooted their support for the protesters as they shouted ‘We want fair fuel’ as the M.D arrived for the meeting.

Talking about this latest step in the campaign for fairer fuel, Stornoway resident Erica MacDonald, who last year presented a petition to Westminster with more than 3,000 signatures in opposition to rising fuel costs said: “This is the legacy of that campaign. I think fuel should be legislated across the board so that it is the same price everywhere, whether that is here or in England.

“They should also cut VAT to 5% the same as domestic fuel. Petrol is a necessity - the same as domestic fuel - we should not have to pay more because we live on an island.”

Another petition was also launched today which will be presented to the Scottish Parliament. It said: “We the undersigned call on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to initiate an urgent economic inquiry into the predatory wholesale pricing policies of Scottish Fuels with regard to the supply of fuel to the people of the Western Isles”.

The petition’s organisers hope to attract thousands of signatures during the Royal National Mod which comes to the Western Isles at the end of this week.

Talking ahead of today’s meeting MP Angus MacNeil agreed that Ministers had to make sure that the public benefited directly from the fuel duty discount, he said: “Today is the first step, we need more transparency in the prices being charged by distributors.”