Western Isles are £2.4M worse off due to parcel delivery surcharges

Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan. NO F20 Alasdair Allan MSP
MSP Alasdair Allan

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New research has revealed that the average cost in areas of Scotland commonly hit by parcel delivery surcharges is estimated to be a staggering £44.8m every year.

The Western Isles is the sixth most affected area, making up £2,406,000 of the total costs to consumers.

This new research highlights the disproportionate impact of these surcharges on many parts of Scotland, but particularly the Highlands and Islands region.

With the Covid-19 pandemic leading to greater reliance of individuals and businesses ordering online, the ending of costly parcel delivery surcharges is long overdue, says SNP MSP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar Alasdair Allan.

Mr Allan called for an end to the practice, saying: ‘The fact that some national couriers and retailers still administer surcharges for deliveries to certain areas of Scotland, including the Western Isles, absolutely cannot be justified.

‘Why should someone in the Western Isles have to pay so much more for the same product than someone in the Central Belt, or in the south of England?

‘These additional charges have always been completely unfair to island residents, and the fact that this issue has yet to be resolved speaks volumes about the priorities of the Government in Westminster and its lack of regard for people who live in rural areas.

‘I would like to call on the UK Government to finally pass legislation to outlaw this financial discrimination and put an end to this postcode lottery.

‘Consumers in the Western Isles have more than had enough, and the UK Government must act now to end these unreasonable surcharges once and for all.

‘The campaign to end delivery surcharges has received cross-party support in Holyrood, but successive Conservative UK Government Ministers have refused to give Holyrood the powers that would allow Scotland to bring an end to these extra costs.’

The Federation of Small Businesses’ Highlands and Islands development manager David Richardson said: ‘While it is unacceptable for firms to seek to profiteer from people in rural communities who have no option but to order goods online, we must recognise that greater distances and lower volumes mean that it is more expensive for carriers to deliver to these locations.

‘Increased delivery costs must be borne by someone, and for many smaller businesses the only options are to pass them on to consumers or not to deliver to some parts of the country at all.

‘Sadly, many businesses have taken the latter approach and we don’t want to add to the list.

‘We urge decision-makers from across the UK to work together to investigate new solutions for this very important, long-running issue.’