Counting the cost: "We'll see how we get on" say local businesses reacting to fuel price rises

“Everybody is in the same boat” says Lancashire florist Sara Barrow, as she contemplates the impact of soaring fuel prices on her business.

By Fiona Finch
Wednesday, 9th March 2022, 3:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 9th March 2022, 4:04 pm

Businesses across the county were reacting with dismay today to the escalating diesel and petrol prices. But that dismay was tempered by an acknowledgement that their own very pressing and very real concerns are dwarfed by the horrors of the war in Ukraine.

At Flowers With Passion, on the outskirts of Goosnargh, near Preston, Sara contemplated the impact of the price hikes and said: “We are just beginning to get very concerned. Prices have gone up again.”

Noting that one local garage was charging 186p a litre for diesel, while another at a supermarket was charging 159p, she said: “ That’s a big difference, but we don’t have the time to shop around. I think it’s going to go up and up. It’s just one extra thing, but it’s the same for everybody.”

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John Bretherton, managing director of Bretherton's Gold Line Tours, , is concerned about the rise in fuel prices.

She said she and hubsand Carl had pegged their delivery prices but were beginning to consider they might have to raise them: “I’ve noticed other florists have started to put their delivery charges up. We’ve only just put bouquet prices up because the cost of flowers are 40% up.”

But she added: “It’s difficult to complain about anything when this tragedy is going on in the Ukraine...it puts everything into perspective..we’ll see how we get on.”

The business is supporting the DEC Ukraine appeal with Sara donating her £5 labour fee to the appeal when anyone orders bouquets or arrangements over £30 in the Ukraine national colours of blue and yellow.

Meanwhile coach tour business Bretherton’s Gold Line Tours, based at Thornley, on the outskirts of Longridge, is preparing for a major increase in costs as diesel prices soar. Managing Director John Bretherton summed up the challenge facing his business saying: “It’s awful...the other day I would say it was almost £8 a gallon in old money. I think it will probably go up to £10. ”

@ Sara Barrow is donating her labour costs for these arrangements to the DEC appeal for Ukraine and said: "I want to do my bit to raise some money to send for the war effort."

Noting that overseas in countries such as Germany, Holland and Belgium diesel is cheaper than petrol , but this is not the case in the UK John said he had some questions for politicians: “ Why is diesel far more expensive when it costs less to refine?Why in this coutry does it cost more than it does in Europe?”

He predicted that their family business, which runs day trips tours at home and abroad, as well as providing school transport, could end up paying thousands of pounds more for fuel and yet had advertised their trips in their brochure at a set price and could not pass on charges to the customer.

His son Jon Paul,a director in the business said: “The situation with fuel is a dynamic situation….It’s a very negative situation we’re in.”

He added that the situation in Ukraine is “diabolical ..beyond horrendous.”

Blackpool taxi cab rank driver Neil Charnock had also been astounded when prices soared to 179.9p a litre for diesel at one Blackpool garage this week. He said: “I’m a cab driver so I’m very keen on watching prices. I do about 750 miles a week.”