SOUTH Holland residents are being hit by a double whammy as fuel prices soar at the pumps – and the cost of goods and services shoot up.
On Tuesday the cheapest petrol in the UK was £126.9 per litre, but the cheapest in Spalding was £132.9 – 6p dearer – and in Holbeach it was 8p higher at £134.9.
For more than a year at least Spalding’s prices at the pumps have been consistently more expensive than those in Boston, which is just a few miles away along the A16.
According to Petrolprices.com on Tuesday unleaded in Boston was 2p cheaper than in Spalding – and diesel was a penny cheaper than Spalding’s cheapest price of £138.9.
Top prices in Spalding for fuel on Tuesday were £136.9 for unleaded and £143.9 for diesel.
Business leaders say prices at the pumps are putting up the cost of all goods and services because almost everything today goes by road.
Jason Rooke, president of Spalding and District Area Chamber of Commerce, said the only bright spot in the gloomy picture is that town centre traders are busier because people are shopping locally rather than driving to other towns.
He said: “From that point of view it’s not doing as much harm as it could be but, from a wider point of view, it is crippling businesses because, whether you are buying or selling, everything goes by road.”
Mr Rooke is head of a pet food company in Spalding and said the cost of every single one of the supplies he buys has gone up, mainly due to the cost of road transport.
He said the temporary closure of Sainsbury’s petrol station means there is less pressure on the other three to keep prices down.
David Dexter, county president of the Lincolnshire Federation of Small Businesses, said businesses have been hit fuel price rises and a big hike in insurance costs with the average rising to about £900 a year.
Few businesses can afford to absorb costs and have to pass them on to the customer.