Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Watchdog is urged to probe Northern Ireland fuel prices

The next chairman of Stormont’s enterprise committee has called for the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to come to Northern Ireland to investigate how petrol and diesel prices here are “decimating” consumers and businesses.

He was speaking after the OFT launched a six-week review into whether reductions in the price of crude oil were being passed on to motorists.

The watchdog called for information from the industry, motoring groups and consumer bodies amid concerns over the prices charged for petrol and diesel at the pumps.

Petrol prices in Northern Ireland are consistently the highest in the UK.

The SDLP’s Patsy McGlone, who takes on the enterprise committee chairmanship next week, said he wanted the OFT review to take into consideration “the extraordinarily high pump prices here compared to England, Scotland and Wales”.

The Mid Ulster MLA said: “I’m calling on the OFT to come over and tell us what they are doing for struggling consumers and businesses here. The high price of fuel is having massive implications on consumers and businesses and the transport sector in particular, which is having a sustained knock-on effect once again on consumer goods when people can least afford it.”

AA president Edmund King strongly welcomed the news but said the move was “overdue”.

The OFT plans to publish its findings in January.

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