AS FERMANAGH families and businesses struggle to keep up with the speed at which oil and fuel prices are climbing, the government’s coffers are being kept well stocked and the oil barons are still making profits.
In recent weeks the cost of home heating oil has jumped by 70 percent, while fuel prices have been significantly increasing at the pumps each and every day. Indeed, one local supplier, Garry Jennings, has told the Herald the price of road diesel will likely hit a shocking record in the coming days.
“They were predicting DERV was going to £2 this month, but DERV is going to go to £2 by the end of this week,” he said.
Mr Jennings said the cost of diesel had resulted in significantly fewer lorries on local roads in recent times.
“I had to go to Belfast for a load of oil the other night, there wasn’t a lorry on the road,” he said. “They’re not making the journeys unless they are necessary. They’re not going with half loads, they’re waiting for full loads because of the price of diesel.”
With deliveries coming to the North came via lorry, ship or plane, which all require fuel, Mr Jennings noted local businesses were seeing costs soar but were not seeing a corresponding increase in incomes.
“For instance, the farmer and the price of cattle feed, the price of fertiliser, the price of diesel, is all up between 40-70 percent, even 100 percent. The price of cattle hasn’t doubled, though” he said.
Despite what some may believe, local fuel suppliers are not seeing their incomes go up either.
“It’s not the oil companies making the money, and it’s not the wholesalers, it’s the people brining in the ships,” said Mr Jennings. “Investors and businessmen making money know they can make £2.5 million by leaving a ship at sea for one more night.”
He explained that a large ship can carry 25 million litres of oil. If the price of oil rises by 10p per litre while that ship is at sea, as happened on Monday, the cost of that oil – for both local suppliers and consumers – will go up by £2.5 million.
With VAT and duty both taxed on the cost of the oil, the government will be seeing its income increase too. Roughly calculating the VAT and duty on 1.69 of diesel, as was the cost at his forecort on Tuesday, Mr Jennings worked out the government would be getting 86.95p
“Duty is a percentage, and the VAT is a percentage, so the more it goes up the more that goes up,” he said. “For every litre of fuel, the Treasury get half of that.”
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