Fuel Costs - a Crafty Steal
30th May 2008
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Cost of Living hits us all ...

In my spare time I'm a crafter. For the past 8 years or so I've been doing local craft fairs in and around the region, with varying results. However, this year, and the end of last year, have been the worst that I can remember. And it's not just me either, otherwise I would think my range of items were just not cutting it. Everyone seems to be badly hit, and I've noticed that a number of regulars are no longer appearing at the fairs. I don't think I've made a profit at any of the stalls I've taken this year, but there are still a few to go.

It's making me wonder whether it's the East Midlands, this area or the country in general. Is it because no one has any money to spend on the type of things at Craft Fairs, or is it just that they've had their day and nobody can be bothered to attend any more?

Personally I think it's down to disposable income. Let's face it, everything's gone up recently, from the weekly food shop to the fuel in the car. And given that in rural areas we probably use more fuel than anyone else due to lack of public transport, these rises must have hit our area quite hard.

Talking of fuel prices, I was listening to Jeremy Vine programme yesterday on Radio 2. He, or his substitute, was talking about just this, and the fact that people are now resorting to stealing fuel to resell, not just from cars but from heating oil tanks outside people's homes. It was mentioned on the show that people in rural areas again tend to be targetted as, for some reason, there's more oil-fired heating in the country than in the towns. Someone phoned in on the show, and said they'd just passed a motorway bridge over the A1 at Oakham, where a banner had been hung saying 'Steal your Fuel'

On my way home last night, I passed the banner. Does this mean we've got fuel thieves around our area? If so we'd better all watch out, and those of us with oil-fired central heating should make sure to secure your tanks so that casual (or not so casual) thieves can't take it. It's not always noticeable until your heating doesn't come on, but you can have around £500's worth in your tank that's sitting there waiting to be stolen!

Farmers need to beware as well, as Red Diesel is also being targetted. Quite how they get round it being dyed, I don't now, but that's the story. What a sorry pass we've come to. I do feel that those of us in rural areas are always hit hardest by the belt tightening, whether it's post offices or fuel prices. Surely we should form a lobby group or something to ensure that we get preferential treatment as far as road tax/fuel prices etc. etc. are concerned? Anyone know how?

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