§ Sir Ronald Bell
asked the Secretary of State for Trade whether he is satisfied that small retailers of petrol will not be eliminated by the activities of the major oil companies; and whether he will make a statement.
§ Mrs. Sally Oppenheim
I am aware that the number of small petrol retailers continues to decline for a variety of reasons. Although the Director General of Fair Trading concluded on the basis of a review by his office last October that oil company ownership of retail petrol sites had not yet reached a level justifying a further monopoly reference to the Monopolies and Mergers Commission he is keeping the level under review. He has stated that he will not hesitate to use his powers under the competition legislation if he has evidence that the oil companies are abusing their market power.