§ 33. Mr. Pollock
asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will direct the Director General of Fair Trading, under section 13 of the Competition Act 1980, to inquire into and report on the differentials in respect of motor fuel prices between densely populated areas and the remote rural areas; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Butcher
As part of his duties under the Fair Trading Act, the Director General of Fair Trading monitors competition in the motor fuel market. He has found no evidence of anti-competitive practices which would justify action under the competition legislation at this time.
The powers under section 13 of the Competition Act to investigate prices of major public concern have never been used; and it would be inappropriate to use them other than in the most exceptional circumstances. It is not clear that such circumstances exist at present in the motor fuel market.
I nevertheless remain willing to consider taking action if circumstances change.