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Parliamentarians press OFT on Northern Isles fuel prices

Northern Isles parliamentarians Alistair Carmichael MP and Tavish Scott MSP have pressed representatives of the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to look again at the operation of the fuel market in Orkney and Shetland.

At a meeting earlier this week, Mr Carmichael and Mr Scott argued that figures obtained by the OFT on the price of fuel do not represent the difference in the cost of petrol and heating oil between the Scottish mainland and the isles accurately. The OFT has claimed that data gathered up to this point would not justify the use of their legal powers to intervene in the market.

The OFT representatives confirmed that they plan to carry out additional investigative work into the difficulties facing communities in more remote areas. Preliminary findings on fuel are expected by the spring.

Mr Carmichael said: “It is no surprise that the OFT do not have the answers they need to justify formal intervention when they have been so reluctant to ask the necessary questions to get this data. The message does seem to be getting through but it has been a difficult and frustrating process to get there.”