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Montevideo, March 26th 2023 - 22:36 UTC



Falklands fuel prices hit hard, triggers concern and a community solidarity spirit

Friday, November 4th 2022 - 10:08 UTC
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Diesel has increased by 3 pence to 102p per liter, kerosene by a massive 51 pence to 119p per liter and unleaded petrol increased by two pence to 132p per liter. Diesel has increased by 3 pence to 102p per liter, kerosene by a massive 51 pence to 119p per liter and unleaded petrol increased by two pence to 132p per liter.

Rumors of a hefty fuel hike were confirmed this week when the Falkland Islands supplier of commercial and domestic fuel Stanley Services Ltd released their fuel prices.

Diesel has increased by 3 pence to 102p per liter, kerosene increased by a massive 51 pence to 119p per liter and unleaded petrol increased by two pence to 132p per liter.

In the Falklands residents largely use kerosene and diesel for domestic fuel for heating their homes.

A 45kg propane cylinder (gas) is now £153 and an 11kg propane cylinder £37.40. The news was met with concern on social media, many expressing a great deal of worry and others suggesting tips on how to save energy and money.

One MLA suggested setting up a scheme to pull together gifts for children in need at Christmas which garnered a great deal of support, many people offering to donate gifts. Others were less happy, one pointing out “Charity is great, however, how about running things in a manner so people can pay their heating bills and put decent food on the table after working a full time job?”

The Falkland Islands Government having anticipated the raise in fuel prices has offered some support.

In the October 28 Penguin News front page story titled ‘FIG provides financial aid’ it was noted that Executive Council had approved new financial measures to help with the increased cost of living.

There it was noted that a temporary household power and fuel allowance scheme of £140/month would be payable to households with an annual income up to approximately £43,200 with a partial allowance payable to those within a few hundred pounds of that threshold and would be available from December 1 to May 31 2023.

This week PN asked some residents how they felt about the fuel increase, how it impacted them, if they would be taking up the help and if they felt the help was enough.

Vicky Collier told us: “I will be applying for the assistance that has been offered. The cost of living has been escalating and people have already had to review their spending and cut out non essentials over the last six months or so. There will many people out there who have no more nonessentials to cut and who are now having to look at ways of cutting their essential living costs, which is a scary place to be.

As a community we are great at helping others, however we are not always great at asking for help when we need it. I think we are all going to have to learn to say when we are struggling, and come together as a community to help each other get through what is a difficult time for many.”

Ruth Stewart commented: “I don’t qualify for it. I think it will be hard for people, but it’s just what it is sadly and we have to ride it out. However I’m really pleased the government are putting some assistance in place for those that are on lower incomes.”

An individual who wished to remain anonymous commented: “I grew up poor in the seventies and eighties, and I still remember getting out of bed for school and crowding round the gas fire in the living room. In the winter there was ice on the inside of the windows. It upsets me so much to think that my kids might ever have to live that way. I thought we’d moved on from that, and now we’re going backwards.

“I was already carefully doing my sums about what fuel we can afford, and how that changes where we can shop and which food items we can afford, and that was before these new price hikes came in. I’m not sure what we’re going to do now. My family has what should be a reasonable amount of money coming in, but at the end of every month we’re struggling. You shouldn’t have to live from pay-slip to pay-slip, because that means if anything at all goes wrong you’re in big trouble.

Things like shoes have to be carefully saved for, but what if your kids just grow out of them?

“With rents so high, and food so expensive already, what does the government expect us to do? We keep hearing about international rises and the war in Ukraine, but if it’s not there to protect us from the impact of things like that, what’s the point of the government? You can’t just put your hands in the air and go, sorry, it’s out of our hands. I could have done that, give me a government wage and I’ll do it.

“It’s not that I’m ungrateful for the help, it’s just clearly not enough. They know that themselves, or they wouldn’t keep telling us that things are going to be hard. Here’s some help, mate, you’re still going to struggle though. Well then it’s not enough help, is it?”

Pensioner Hulda Stewart who mixes a great deal with residents of all ages said: “People are grateful for the help they are going to receive which is lovely – I am grateful for it but the feeling is a tremendous amount of concern among so many other people generally about how they are going to manage. They say when they are working it out – gas and electricity and kero or diesel that it’s not really going to help them very much.”

Hulda also thinks the way the tax brackets are set out are “stifling initiative” and should be re-examined. She feels when people with not much money want to earn a little bit more they are immediately punished when they slip into the next bracket.

Adrian Lowe thinks people should turn their heating down when they go to work unless it’s below freezing: “I see people’s heating going flat out during summer, most people have got insulation in their homes now. We have not got 100 % yet but our heating is turned right down during the day and night, yet again how many people turn their heating down at night.

Tags: Fuel price.

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