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UK GOVERNMENT MINISTER TOO BUSY TO VISIT MORAY FOR DELIVERY CHARGES TALKS

11/09/2019  

The UK Government’s Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility, Kelly Tolhurst MP, has refused to visit the AB-IV postcode boundary with Richard Lochhead MSP to discuss his campaign to end rip off parcel delivery surcharges.

Mr Lochhead wrote to both the Scottish and UK Government inviting Ministers to see the boundary first hand. The Scottish Government’s Business Minister, Jamie Hepburn MSP, visited on 15th August.

The UK Government Minister has now written back to Moray’s MSP to say she is too busy to accept his invitation, which Mr Lochhead has described as ‘extremely disappointing’ given that regulation of both consumer protection and parcel deliveries lies with the UK Government.

Mr Lochhead has secured cross party support for the campaign he launched two years ago to tackle online retailers that apply excessive delivery surcharges that costs shoppers across Scotland an extra £38m a year. 

As part of his campaign, Richard Lochhead has called on the UK Government to introduce legislation that would see the industry regulated given the massive number of online companies who apply delivery surcharges for customers across rural Scotland. 

Commenting Richard Lochhead MSP said:

“It’s extremely disappointing that the Conservative Government Minister has decided she’s too busy to visit Moray to learn more about how local consumers face paying absurd and unfair parcel delivery surcharges. There is nothing better than people seeing for themselves the postcode boundary where homes close to each other pay wildly different parcel delivery charges and to meet people directly affected by this issue.

“Given her party colleagues have suspended Parliament and given MPs five weeks off, I think it is incredibly poor that she can’t find the time to visit Moray to discuss my campaign to end these rip off fees.

“The UK Government Minister has repeatedly ignored calls for legislation to tackle these rip off delivery surcharges, despite offering assurances that she understood the need for action.

“This seems to be a case of out of sight out of mind and the Minister clearly doesn’t understand the strength of feeling locally, as the reality is consumers and small business in Moray want to see urgent action to end these discriminatory practices.

“Scots consumers forked out £38m on delivery surcharges last year due to the unacceptable practices of many online retailers and their couriers – that alone should be enough to convince the UK Government to act.

“The Conservative Government has the power to act but imposing a damaging Brexit seems to be all that matters these days. The Minister can be assured that my campaign to end these rip off surcharges, which has secured cross party support, will continue.” 

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