On the same day that the Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) report into Rural Delivery was published Highland MP’s took part in an adjournment debate in the House of Commons calling on the UK Government to do more to support consumers living in rural areas. The CAS report highlighted that over one million consumers across Scotland are paying for excess delivery charges and that the delivery surcharges continue to rise.
At the debate in the House of Commons contributors secured commitment from Minister of State for Skills, Nick Boles to organise a round table meeting on the matter.
Commenting after the debate, Mr Hendry, MP for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey said:
“In this day and age, more and more people are turning to online shopping when making their purchases, indeed for many businesses it is an absolute necessity.
“Yet today Citizen Advice Scotland published a report highlighting that over one million people in rural Scotland are not only, still suffering the inequity of delivery surcharges but that these delivery charges are still increasing. Taking into account inflation, delivery costs are now over 10% higher than they were 3 years ago.
“People in the Highlands & Islands are paying on average £14.23 more for deliveries and we must not allow this practice to continue. In my constituency, one small business owner I recently visited, is at crisis point as a result of excessive delivery charges. Her margins are been pressed so hard she is struggling to even break even.
“She asked me the very simple question – If she could post a parcel from A to B for a standard postal price then why did the same parcel cost up to 5-6 times more to receive. And of course she is right, it is a ludicrous position.
“Consumers should automatically get the choice of the cheapest delivery. They should see clearly the different delivery options and be allowed to make their delivery decision on the basis of the information and costs provided by the retailer.
We need to build on the adopted Statement of Principles and find a way to increase delivery operator and retailer buy-in. Make sure that they offer delivery by Royal Mail when this is the cheaper option. More can and must be done to rectify this inequity.
“I will, with colleagues across the chamber, will continue to push the Minister to strengthen the Statement of Principles and to introduce new measures to ensure that cheaper delivery options such as the royal mail are offered as a standard.”