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MS urges Tory Ministers to end ‘North Wales’ Tax on fuel prices

18 Aug 2023 3 minute read
Ken Skates has highlighted the high price of fuel along the A55

A Member of the Senedd is calling on the UK Government to end the “North Wales Tax” on the region’s motorists.

Clwyd South MS Ken Skates has highlighted the inflated costs of fuel along the A55 from Deeside beyond Conwy – and wants UK Ministers to step in where the “toothless” Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has failed to protect drivers.

“There have been various news reports in recent months about the CMA warning supermarkets over petrol pricing, which has been a long time coming. But nothing has changed,“ Mr Skates said.

“There continues to be an island of high prices in North East Wales from the border with England where prices are consistently more expensive than can possibly be justified by the pandemic or the war in Ukraine, the two go-to excuses of the Westminster Government.

“This is something I, and many others, have been frustrated about for a long time. The industry claims price differences are due to competitive circumstances – for example, the lack of competition on motorways leads to increased prices – and to buying decisions. Some chains buy at fixed prices which apply for several weeks to protect against oil price increases, whereas others buy at cost.

“I can understand and appreciate the latter, but my concern is with the competitive element. My strong belief is that there should be tighter controls over prices, but this is bound up in competition law which is non-devolved and rests with UK Government Ministers.

“Drivers on motorways are a captive market, so it’s only fair that they should be protected from inflated prices. Likewise motorists living in remote places where there are few fuel stations.”

Energy bills

Mr Skates pointed out that people in North Wales are already having to deal with the highest energy bills in Britain, with fixed daily charges more than £120 more a year than in the East Midlands.

He continued: “If you compare high volume supermarket sites, for example, where the cost difference for a 35,000-40,000 litre delivery from the Stanlow depot is negligible, they really are taking advantage of North Wales motorists.

“Sainsbury’s charges 8-10p more in Rhyl than Wrexham, and Morrisons charges 8-9p more in Rhyl than Runcorn. In fact, if you’re in Rhyl, you’d have to drive at least 30 miles to find lower prices. “Asda, the gatekeeper of this gauntlet of greed along the A55, sets the tone by charging around 7p more at Queensferry than it does in Runcorn. How can these hikes be justified?

“The CMA has been utterly toothless, and successive UK Government Ministers have failed to act. You’d have thought they’d show an interest once they finally had some MPs in North Wales, but we’re still waiting – and we’re still paying the price.”


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hdavies15
hdavies15
7 months ago

Well spotted Ken. All we need now is for 40 something A.S’s to make the case for secession. A free Wales could tax fuels at sensible levels instead of using inflated VAT and tax revenues to fund zany vanity projects.

Oh dear, silly me, just realised that’s what Labour does in Wales too. Must be late on a Friday.

David
David
7 months ago

INDEPENDANCE is the answer.

Rheinallt morgan
Rheinallt morgan
7 months ago
Reply to  David

You need to build some hospitals first. There are swathes of Wales without adequate hospital care. when independent we cannot rely on England as we do now, with Ambiwlansys lined up outside any border hospital you care to mention.

Gareth
Gareth
7 months ago

One of the reasons we never had a childrens hospital here, until the public in Cymru and people like Ian Botham raised enough to fund Ty Hafan was, we were told there are plenty on the borders in Bristol, Birmingham, and Liverpool, so send your children to those. The same applies to hospitals, they will not give funding, as we can go over the border, it’s cheaper, and keeps us dependant on England.

Rheinallt morgan
Rheinallt morgan
7 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

We still need to build hospitals Health is devolved the funding we have per patient is higher than in England. We keep on making excuses for our failures and spending money on the wrong projects.

Gareth
Gareth
7 months ago

Funding may be higher per person here, but so is the age of the population, and poverty levels are also higher, and wages on average lower, meanig poorer diets and a worse standard of health, none of which will be addressed by Westminster, who fund us on population size, not the needs of the population. An Independent Cymru can prioritise our spending to suit oue needs, not Westminster’s.

Rheinallt morgan
Rheinallt morgan
7 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

An independent country will not have a health service, it will also lose its largest employer. As an independent country we would be able to prioritise our spending, that’s shallow words. Exactly what do you mean put flesh on the bones. We have been able to prioritise our spending on Health and Education and it is a dogs dinner. Fine words butter no parsnips. We need our own health service with our own hospitals. There are areas of England with a similar demographic to Wales. Do they get health spending to equal that in Wales? Get real we are in… Read more »

Gareth
Gareth
7 months ago

” health has been devolved since the latter part of the last century” sounds a long time, but devolution is only just over 25 years old and we are supposed to put right 800 years of underfunding in that short time, get real, when funding depends on what Westminster dictate is our cash pool. Who said an independant country cant have a health service, how do most of Europe cope. England have poor areas, because London has £ 1562 per person spend which drops as you get further from London.their problem not ours. No nuclear deterrent, works for Germany Italy… Read more »

Rheinallt morgan
Rheinallt morgan
7 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

800 years of underfunding that says it all. HO HO HO. The Dyfal donc a dil y garreg but there is no donc and the garreg is exactly the same as it always was totally untouched by devolution. Dyfal donc with a target for 2323 possibly but probably not and is that dyfal donc at 20mph. .

Gareth
Gareth
7 months ago

Can you please tell me an independant country in Europe that has no health service ? I can list for you those that do have one.

Gareth
Gareth
7 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

Spend per person in London in 2022 was £12,157 , the above amount was capital spending.

Rheinallt morgan
Rheinallt morgan
7 months ago
Reply to  Gareth
  • London generates the money the UK lives on. London raised the most revenue per head, in FYE 2022, at £18,195, while Wales and the North East raised the least revenue per head at £9,409 and £9,533 respectively. Without London the UK would be bankrupt.
  • Stop playing the victim Wales is better of re financial provision than many parts of England.
  • Why is the Welsh education system 12 months adrift from other parts of the UK. We need to recognise our faults to rectify them not sweep them under the carpet and blame the last 800 years
Ernie The Smallholder
Ernie The Smallholder
7 months ago

Of course with a system as the UK, the economy and power structure is very centralised (as it is is in Russia).

The UK (HMRC) collects the taxes in Wales, Scotland and all of England and distributes them in London and Southeast England’s favour – that encourages that area to attract more investment and therefore most economic activity – of course that will result in higher revenue per head.

How is any Welsh government with their hands tied by the UK government going to get round this?

Bachgen o Lerpwl
7 months ago

London and the South East is the powerhouse that drives the UK economy it subsidises UK regions including Wales, without subsidies Wales would be poorer and without hospitals.

Gareth
Gareth
7 months ago

Health was not devolved when Edward V111 was alive, you seem confused, as it was devolved on 1st of July 1999. What is this health has been devolved since the last century?

Rheinallt morgan
Rheinallt morgan
7 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

“Something must be done” re Edward 8th is a famous quote in terms of Welsh history. His comment was made in relation to the living conditions of Welsh miners a statement which appalled Ramsey Mcdonald who considered it as the Monarchy expressing political views. The Welsh miners were very grateful and took him to their hearts, my mother (whose father was one of those miners) told me parts of Wales would have welcomed Edward when he abdicated. I was echoing his sentiment about something needing to be done about the Welsh NHS not suggesting his statement related to the NHS.… Read more »

Rheinallt morgan
Rheinallt morgan
7 months ago
Reply to  Gareth

1999 was the last century.

Gareth
Gareth
7 months ago

Several years ago representatives from energy companies were questioned by our Gov on why are prices higher here than in England. The reply was, we answer to Westminster not you, and until that changes we will set the price as we see fit. Do people still need more reasons why we should not be independent of this so called ” union of equals”.

Ap Kenneth
7 months ago

Transport costs are very small as the article makes clear. The reason it happens is because they can, they know that if you are in Rhyl or Denbigh (Morrisins are the same) then they have a captive market. The Competitions and Markets Authority does not care if you are on the periphery.

Charles Coombes
Charles Coombes
7 months ago

Would he also challenge the standing charges for electricity in Wales?

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