It seemed like something to celebrate Chancellor George Osborne cut fuel duty by 1ppl and simultaneously axed the dreaded fuel duty escalator, saving 6ppl at the pumps. But, and it’s a big but... within days it all turned sour and retailers were being branded ’greedy garages’ by the media because motorists who had pulled onto forecourts up and down the country after 6pm on March 23 expecting to find cheaper fuel prices had been sorely disappointed. The government hadn’t bothered to explain to the motorist that with wholesale prices still soaring, and duty paid stocks still needing to be sold through, it would take some days before prices would be affected. Had they delayed implementation of the penny duty cut as advised by RMI Petrol everyone would have been happy.
Despite this, the scrapping of the duty escalator is still brilliant news for all those who have campaigned tirelessly since January to have it abolished. This, in no small part, is down to the amazing work of Brian Madderson and his team at RMI Petrol, as well as huge support from The Sun newspaper.
Meanwhile, the fate of tobacco displays had been hanging in the balance for more than three years but last month the government decided to sound the death knell. Considering that the Conservatives had always hinted that they would be against a ban, it begs the question: why the change of heart? The concept is baffling to say the least. Not only will the display ban cost retailers more money to implement but it won’t serve the purpose for which it was intended. Children or adults for that matter don’t buy cigarettes on impulse.
With all this uncertainty, we’re keener than ever to celebrate the professionalism of retailers, which is why we’ve relaunched the Forecourt Trader Awards with a new structure giving you all the chance to succeed however large or small your site is. Turn to page 18 for full details. Remember, you’ve got to be in it to win it!