Gordon ‘Diesel’ questions the practice of council fuel discounts

Gordon Maclennan
Gordon Maclennan

Gordon ‘Diesel’ Maclennan is again questioning the transparency of the fuel market - this time putting the spotlight on council fuel tenders.

The owner of Back Filling Station, who previously took on Scottish Fuels, is now calling for answers from Angus Campbell, owner of Campbell’s Filling Stations - who also happens to be a councillor and Leader of the Comhairle.

“Well if you thought Gordon Diesels has the cheapest fuel in the Western Isles, think again,” Mr Maclennan wrote to the thousands of followers of the Gordon Diesel Ltd Facebook page.

He explained that this year his station is part of the framework agreement to provide fuel to Comhairle vehicles, however no council vehicles have called in to fill up.

“We contacted the Council to see if there was something further we needed to complete in the tender process,” he said. “Procurement told us, and I quote ‘Analysis of the weekly pricing confirms that Campbell’s Service Station in Stornoway is currently offering the best price’.”

He continued: “Mr Campbell is of course entitled to undercut us, this is what the free market is all about, indeed our transparent pricing policy at Back makes it very easy to undercut us. One just begs the question why the same low price is not available from him to all the other residents on the Island?”

Speaking to the Gazette Mr Maclennan said he does not offer fuel discounts to anyone, a choice taken when he began campaigning for a fair fuel market. He said the council accepting discounts from filing stations is “promoting the culture of discounts” locally.

However Mr Campbell has defended the practice. “Campbells Services, as with all businesses across the islands, have to tender for supplies to the Council through the framework provided,” he said.

“Any customer who buys in large quantities is entitled to a discount dependent on volume and guarantee of payment terms. It is up for any retailer to offer incentives to their customers. We do this through Loyalty Points to all customers who pay cash on the day, through our small business rebate scheme or indeed through money off offers in other goods such as Car Wash discounts.”

He said every business has to make a commercial decision as to what is best for their business, staff and customers; adding: “We would not comment publicly about how other businesses operate but we are happy to stand by the principals of how we do ours.”

A Comhairle spokesman said the council determine which outlets to use based on best value, taking into consideration predominately price, but also operational and logistical requirements.

“The Comhairle always seeks to obtain the best price for fuel supplies and weekly pricing confirms that Campbell’s Service Station in Stornoway is currently offering the best price,” he said.