UK forecourts running on empty
The Petrol Retailers' Association (PRA), representing the UK's independent forecourt retailers, welcomes the Deloitte Report 'Study of the UK petroleum retail market'. The report indisputably confirms that the majority fuel forecourts are running with dangerously low levels of stock and that the continued closure of forecourts is reducing onsite storage capacity across the country. The study found that independent forecourts are being forced to cut back stock levels to control working capital costs.
Commenting on the report’s findings, Brian Madderson, PRA Chairman said “It is frustrating to find that Government imposes a penal tax regime of duty and VAT on these small, family owned businesses.
“Most businesses have to pay the tax within one to three days of a stock delivery before they have chance to collect the tax from their customers. Furthermore banks are reluctant to extend overdraft or loan facilities so their only option is to run their fuel storage close to empty. Why does the Government offer deferred duty arrangements to the big oil companies that are best placed to pay immediately, yet not to the small independently run forecourt?
“The report giving a clean bill of health to the industry on retail price movements stated that ‘there is evidence to suggest that reductions in the crude price are passed on faster than increases in price’. As supply contracts to retailers are based on Platts referencing prices, the PRA believe that it would have been better to track wholesale prices and exchange rates.”
When reviewing the affect of hypermarkets on the UK fuel market, Madderson commented “The Government really needs to curb the hypermarkets that are steamrollering across the countryside with no requirement to prove need for their PFS developments. Every new hypermarket forecourt, many now automatic so not offering employment prospects, will suck up the entire fuel volume of between four and five independent forecourts within a 15 to 20 mile radius.”