Kent businessmen unhappy at the presence of competition watchdogs

Competition watchdogs moving into Kent has fuelled distaste among the business leaders in Kent this week as they have decided not to launch a probe into the way that fuel is priced. At the conclusion of their investigation the Office of Fair Trading decided that despite increasing diesel and petrol costs retailers are not ripping off their consumers.

The OFT originally started to look into the UK fuel market after several allegations were made that prices quickly increase when oil prices increase but they do not fall as rapidly when oil prices decrease. After the announcement was made that a full probe would not be launched the Federation of Small Businesses spoke out and stated that it was very disappointed with the decision.

FSB Kent and Medway chairman Roger House stated that the OFT report is bad news for SMEs that find themselves dependent on vehicle use for their everyday business activities.

He went on to explain that over the last few years there has been a large jump in the price of fuel and even an additional 5p increase since just Christmas. House went on to say that there is obviously a disconnect between the wholesale fuel prices and what motorists are told they must pay because reductions in the wholesale price do not pass onto the customer very quickly when they occur.

He added that too many SMEs in Kent and Medway are forced to increase their prices for customers as a result with three-quarters of the FSB membership stating that they think that their business is being hurt by the high costs of fuel. For this reason, House asked that tough action be taken to crack down on those who are profiting while small businesses that are dependent on road use are suffering.