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Halfon demands tough action on oil price fixers

15 May, 2013

An Early Day Motion demanding tough prison sentences and windfall taxes on any oil companies convicted of oil price fixing has been tabled in Parliament by Harlow MP Robert Halfon.

The move follows yesterday's raids on oil company offices by European Commission investigators, as an inquiry into price manipulation began. The Commission said it suspected companies had "colluded in reporting distorted prices".

In the Motion, Halfon, an active campaigner on fuel price issues, said he was “deeply concerned by reports that the European Commission has been forced to raid the offices of oil giants, including Shell, BP, Statoil and Platts the oil-price benchmarker, following allegations of oil market manipulation and price-fixing”.

He said oil prices were stubbornly high in the UK and petrol and diesel as a result were more expensive than they have ever been, and that despite a unanimous vote of the House in September 2012 and support from the Minister for Energy at the time calling for a full and thorough investigation, the Office of Fair Trading only managed an enquiry about whether to have an enquiry. Although the OFT expressed concerns about rigging in the oil market, no further action was taken.

The Motion also stated that: “Rip-off oil prices are crushing the living standards of British families, are a huge brake on jobs and growth, and motorists in the UK are being taken for a very expensive ride.

“The House therefore urges that if convictions are made for oil price-fixing, that there should be tough prison sentences and windfall taxes on the companies involved, with all the money used to cut fuel duty.”