THE UK GOVERNMENT will take action over unfair delivery charges following a House of Commons debate on the issue on Wednesday.
In the hour-long debate led by Moray’s MP Douglas Ross, it was accepted by ministers that the time had come where a detailed study into the issue was required – with a Green Paper promised early next year.
During the debate MP’s from all parties were in full agreement that the issue had been allowed to continue for far too long. The Scottish Parliament was also praised for taking a leading role in the campaign led by Moray’s Richard Lochhead MSP – now the joint attack on what are described as ‘rip-off’ delivery rates can finally make progress.
Mr Ross even made the point that it was cheaper for him to buy Christmas presents in London – then book a seat on his flight home to transport them back to Moray.
The MP joined others in relating a raft of shocking stories from constituents over the policies adopted by businesses shipping to the north, Mr Ross saying that it was a “despicable practice of hiking up prices” that had led to people being fed up.
Consumers minister Margot James highlighted the particular issue of firms claiming to deliver to the UK Mainland only to then introduce the idea that did not include the north of Scotland. She suggested that was in itself a breach of existing rules – and called on consumers to complain to local Trading Standards officers when they were met with such conditions.
Following the debate in the Westminster Hall, Douglas Ross said: “Too many people are being ripped off purely because they happen to live where they do.
“We are part of the mainland UK here in Moray and delivery companies are just putting on a surcharge without proper investigation. It is bad enough people have to pay over the odds at Christmas, but this is something that goes on all year round and we need to put a stop to it.”
He added that it was time to deliver loud and clear to companies who impost such charges that enough was enough.
All sides praised for joint efforts
Praising MP’s and MSP’s of all sides, he added: “I welcome the true cross-party approach to tackling this injustice, to calling out the unscrupulous companies who think they can treat the North as second class citizens and highlight this shoddy behaviour for what it truly is – an inexcusable rip-off to consumers in Moray and Scotland.”
Douglas added: “I have already received a firm commitment from the Minister that she would do everything she could to end the problem and the debate today has seen firm evidence from all parties, which should enable the Government to act.
“I very much welcome the fact that the Minister has given a commitment today to ensure a fair deal for customers by asking the Consumer Protection Partnership to investigate the evidence and consider further proposals to see what can be done to protect remote “communities from any unfair postal charges.
“I am delighted that the Minister announced in the debate that the Government will consult further on this issue and that a Consumer Green Paper will be coming forward next year to see how businesses treat customers, which will include delivery charges.
“This is a major step forward for our campaign. Those of us who live in Moray know we are lucky to live here, but we shouldn’t be penalised for choosing to live here as we are with these delivery charges.”