Trouble is, people in Scotland are still paying £38 million in excess delivery surcharges.

You all know the problem – the one when you are ordering online and get to the final page of the order process only to find out a delivery surcharge has been applied or even worse: you are told they wouldn’t deliver to your address at all because your address is not mainland UK!

It is nothing short of postcode discrimination.

As constituents will know, I have been calling on the UK Government to right this wrong for a long time. I even took a People’s Delivery Guarantee Bill to parliament, showing them how they could end this discrimination. At every turn, it has been warm words and no action.

My colleague Richard Lochhead MSP, has also been relentless on the issue, with his recent resulting in some large retailers voluntarily changing their courier services. This is great news, but it shouldn’t be voluntary to sort this problem, it needs Government intervention.

Though it would seem the UK Government Small Business Minister Kelly Tollhurst disagrees – in a recent response to Mr Lochhead she told him we should “shop around” instead.

Regulation over delivery charges is a power that is reserved to Westminster – she is the person in the job to make the changes – yet has committed to nothing other than a bit more data gathering.

Let’s be real, ‘shopping around’ is what we all do already. Trouble is, people in Scotland are still paying £38 million in excess delivery surcharges.

A point I made last week to the Leader of the House of Commons when calling for a debate on rip off delivery charges.

The UK Government should be working with us to find a solution, not validating the “it costs more to deliver to rural areas” line from retailers and couriers.

Plenty of companies happily deliver on a flat or free basis to ensure fairness to their customers – others should be made to follow their lead.

Like the example set by Highland Parcels which now offers use of a central belt postcode to circumvent the postcode systems retailers use. Our region has direct links via road, rail and, internationally by air, there is no excuse.

Action on this issue is well overdue and, rest assured, I will never stop reminding UK Government Ministers of their responsibilities to people living in the North of Scotland.

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