Felixstowe: Morrisons’ petrol price rise criticised

FELIXSTOWE: Supermarket giant Morrisons today defended its decision to put up petrol and diesel by a penny – just hours before fuel duty was cut by the same amount in the Budget.

Motorists were furious and felt they were being cheated out of any gain from the reduction in fuel prices announced by chancellor George Osborne to help families.

Evening Star readers said they spotted the price hike at Morrisons filling station in Grange Farm Avenue, Felixstowe, as it was made on Wednesday morning before the Budget announcement.

Morrisons though said there was no connection and their decision to increase the price was not because of a possible cut in duty.

“Any price increases were routine and in no way connected to the Budget,” said a Morrisons spokesman.

“As soon as we heard the Chancellor’s surprise announcement to reduce duty by 1p, we were the first to pass on the cut to our customers at all of our petrol stations by 5pm, an hour earlier than the Government’s recommendation.”

Meanwhile, government has been asked to investigate the wide differences in petrol prices across Britain.

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In Felixstowe, there can be up to 27p per gallon difference in prices between the Co-op garage in the town centre and Morrisons on the edge of town.

South Thanet MP Laura Sandys said: “I can’t understand why I have some of the highest prices at the pump in the country – and I’m not sure my constituents can either.”

The possibility of a 3.5p per litre fuel duty rise was worrying Felixstowe’s hauliers, who have been lobbying hard for help via the FairFuel UK campaign with many fearing for their futures.

Simon Chapman, the Freight Transport Association’s chief economist, said the reduction in fuel duty levels, and delay in future increases until next year, coupled to the freezing of lorry Vehicle Excise Duty, will give hard pressed vehicle operators some much-needed breathing space.

“Our primary goal coming into this Budget was to see the fuel duty rise in April scrapped and for a fairer deal for our members and all road users in difficult trading conditions,” he said.

“Clearly, Mr Osborne has listened to our concerns and recognises that for economic growth to be sustained, then freight transport is needed to keep shop shelves filled and businesses supplied.”

? Is the 1p cut in fuel duty enough – should it have been more? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Evening Star, Ipswich IP4 1An, or e-mail evening starletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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