A recent inquiry into price fixing by major petrol companies such as BP and Shell has been called ‘limp-wristed and lettuce-like’ by a Conservative MP. Robert Halfon, an MP for Harlow, claims that the government’s enquiry into petrol price fixing fails to live up to the standards expected by the British public, and that the enquiry should have been extended into a full year-long investigation.
Mr. Halfon claims that the potential for petrol price fixing is an issue that affects millions of people across the nation, and that if a conspiracy exists, the people responsible for it should serve time in prison for their involvement. Concerned at the lack of deep probing by the government, Halfon has claimed that the affair should be a ‘national scandal’ and that the enquiry deserved more attention.
While Mr. Halfon stands out as a leading voice on the scandal, he’s certainly not the only MP to be concerned about the possibility of petrol price fixing. David Cameron has also commented on the issue, claiming that he would be ‘deeply concerned’ if it came to light that petrol companies were artificially manipulating the price of oil in order to increase their profit margins.
Britain has faced rising fuel costs for over a decade, with the cost of petrol steadily increasing since the start of the millennium. Aside from a dip in price at the beginning of 2009, at which point petrol prices were at parity with their 2000 price, the cost of a litre of petrol has almost doubled since the year 2000. It’s a worrying trend with real financial repercussions for millions of British families.
As investigations continue into companies such as BP and Shell, the public – and the public sector – is bracing itself for a potential scandal. With the Libor banking scandal now out of the public eye, it appears that Petrolgate, as it’s being described on Twitter, could be the biggest business scandal of 2013.