Fuel price campaigners in the Western Isles say they were amazed to discover that a briefing they sent to Chancellor George Osborne urging him not to increase fuel duty in his Autumn Statement last week was considered as evidence for his u-turn in which he axed the price hike.
A personal letter of thanks has now been sent by the Economic Secretary at the Treasury to the volunteers of Fair Fuel Solutions (FFS), the Stornoway-based campaigners, for putting forward their case to retain fuel duty at the current rate.
Sajid Javid, the MP for Bromsgrove who was recently appointed Economic Secretary at the Treasury, wrote and confirmed that the islanders’ plea was used in the decision-making process for the Chancellor’s policy review.
The campaigners had told him back in November that their campaign had focused on profiteering in the supply chain and that persistent highlighting of inconsistencies had led to an Office of Fair Trading survey and that there had been substantial cuts in pump prices as a result of healthy competition prompted by island fuel retailer Gordon Maclennan.
It continued: “While our campaign has been successful, albeit in the short-term as we have yet to see whether the OFT will provide adequate safeguards for the future, the gains we have made will be partially negated by your government’s proposed fuel duty increase scheduled for January 1st.”
The campaigners urged Mr Osborne to listen to other MPs’ representations, and those from many other parties, because islanders simply could not afford it.
FFS spokesman Callum Ian Macmillan said he and his fellow campaigners were amazed at the personal response from the Treasury as they had expected one sentence saying their comments had been noted.
He said: “We had already been in touch with a colleague of Mr Osborne and Mr Javid. That was Danny Alexander, who is Chief Secretary to the Treasury, and he is well aware of the work we are doing here to expose the profiteering by big companies and their supporters.
“We have since been in touch with the Treasury as it is vital we keep the Chancellor and his colleagues fully informed of developments as there is some doubt about the willingness of the Office of Fair Trading to mount a forensic investigation into what has been happening here.”