§ Mr. Grocott
asked the Secretary of State for Energy whether he intends to increase the price of paraffin in the near future.
§ Mr. Benn
Following upon the notification in November by the oil companies to the Price Commission of their intention to increase prices of oil products mainly in consequence of higher costs of imported crude oil, the Government have received proposals from the companies for increases in the maximum retail price of paraffin. Representations have also been made by the organisations representing retailers and hardware dealers that, in fixing the new maximum retail prices for paraffin, allowance should be made for a bigger margin so that they can recover the increased costs which they have experienced since the present price of paraffin was set 12 months ago.
After careful consideration, the Government have decided that the increase in the maximum retail price should be limited to 6p a gallon. This takes account of an increase in the wholesale price limited to 4½ p a gallon and an additional 1½p a gallon margin to the retailer. The 4½p increase is less than the general increase in the wholesale prices of other 748W below. In the years covered by the Defence Review, total civilian strengths will be reduced, as far as possible through natural wastage, as a result of reductions in the Front Line.
heating oils and the weighted average increase in price of all oil products notified to the Price Commission.
The new maximum retail price increase will be effective from midnight Sunday 7th December and I am amending the maximum retail price order accordingly.
I regret any increase in the price of paraffin which I know is of special importance to low income users, but the present increase is unavoidable to ensure that supplies will be forthcoming, and the number of retail outlets is maintained.