With well-known high street names collapsing like a pack of cards at what should be their busiest time of year - and as we’re still suffering the after-shocks of the failure of the big banking institutions -it’s anyone’s guess where it will all end. But certainly by all accounts the Government’s pre-budget announcements have not done anything to reassure the nation. They have been likened to ’moving the deckchairs on the Titanic’. In other words, whichever way you look at it, we still seem to be sinking. If everyone had a job and a huge pay rise maybe things would be different. But why would anyone suddenly go out on a spending spree just to save a few pence here and there, when they haven’t actually got any money, and anyway they’ve already been spending money they haven’t got - and that’s the big problem. In terms of fuel it’s literally a case of giving with one hand and taking away with the other - with loads of bother for the retailer in between. Some comfort for the petrol retailing business though is that people do NEED food and fuel - it’s not a case of WANT. I don’t know anyone who ’wants’ to go onto a forecourt to buy fuel, but they have to (especially if they want to get to work, to earn money, to spend it, to save 2.5% on the VAT!). That makes them a captive audience and gives retailers the opportunity to win them over with a good service.

On top of this you can make your own effort to influence the politicians - a long and laborious process, but one which can produce results. The ACS Heart of the Community Campaigner Seminar was excellent. I urge you to get involved.

In the meantime make the most of Christmas, it could be a tough New Year!