Health and care services struggle as petrol prices reach record high

Petrol prices in Suffolk have been revealed (file photo)

Figures released this week show petrol is 30p more expensive than this time last year - Credit: PA

Rising petrol prices will have a "detrimental effect" on Suffolk key workers, including nurses and care staff, with figures showing prices are at their highest level on record. 

Figures published by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in recent days show the average price for a litre of unleaded is now 143.7p, up from 141.8p a week ago. 

This is 30p more expensive than this time last year, when prices were 113.1p per litre. 

The current average price is the most expensive recorded and beats the previous high of 142.17 set in April 2012. 

Businesses and key workers will be hit in the pocket due to the price hike, which is being driven by the rising costs of oil and biofuels. 

This includes nursing and care staff, who often travel long distances to see patients in the community. 

A spokesman for UNISON Suffolk County Branch said: "UNISON feels it is unfair that fuel costs have significantly risen in the last few weeks, the high cost of fuel prices has a detrimental effect on our low paid workers. 

Most Read

"Social care workers are feeling the brunt of these high costs and the impact it has on the wider care market. Care workers are struggling to make ends meet whilst on such low pay and need be paid the real living wage." 

And Eileen Raynes-White, operational manager at the Royal College of Nursing Eastern region, also highlighted the connection between rising costs and fair pay wages, explaining: "Nursing staff do extremely valuable and vital work, often travelling long distances to get to work or see their patients in the community.

"Health and care services, already struggling with widespread staffing shortages, cannot afford to lose any more staff because they cannot afford to travel. 

"Costs of living, including fuel prices, have risen far more steeply than nursing wages. This is why the Royal College of Nursing is campaigning for fair pay for nursing, with wages that reflect the skills of our workforce. Without fair pay, staffing shortages risk putting patient safety at risk."

Paul Simon of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce.

Paul Simon of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce. - Credit: Archant

Paul Simon, from Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, said: "Record high fuel prices are just one of a number of price pressures bearing down on Suffolk businesses, alongside raw material and labour costs and from next April increases to Employer NI contributions and Corporation Tax.  

"Whilst welcoming the decision by the Chancellor in the recent Budget to freeze fuel duty for another year, many firms are already looking at longer-term solutions to minimise such costs of doing businesses. These include investing in electric or zero emission vehicles and shortening their supply chains where possible." 

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter