Orkney MSP Liam McArthur used a debate in the Scottish Parliament this afternoon to push the Scottish Government to do more to tackle discriminatory delivery costs to Orkney.
The debate resulted from the publication of Citizens Advice Scotland’s report, The Postcode Penalty: The Distance Travelled.
The publication revealed that since 2012 there are fewer online retailers who refuse delivery to Orkney and fewer online retailers that apply surcharges, but those that do actually charge more than they did 3 years ago. In Orkney, this has equated to a 15.7% hike in charges.
Speaking during the debate, Mr McArthur told the parliament a constituent in Stronsay was forced to pay not only a £5.99 surcharge but an extra £7.99 as the constituent lived on an island. However, to make matters worse the order arrived in a Royal Mail postage paid envelope which Mr McArthur described as “a mockery of the need for any surcharge at all.”
Orkney’s MSP pressed for more to be done to end discriminatory delivery charges to Orkney. Mr McArthur called on the Scottish Government to extend the Road Equivalents Tariff scheme (RET) to help reduce costs for delivery by ferry.
Commenting after the exchange, Mr McArthur said:
“It is unfair that people living in Orkney can find themselves paying through the nose for deliveries they have purchased online. This affects many local small businesses as well, who often face increased costs.
“Citizens Advice Scotland has done a tremendous job over the years in shining a light on delivery practices across the Highlands & Islands. While the evidence suggests there have been improvements in some respects, it is equally clear that more must be done to tackle unfair delivery charges.
“During the debate this afternoon, it was suggested that one way the Scottish Government could help would be to extend the availability of Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) support for freight vehicles. This might be true but it would be of little benefit to people or businesses in Orkney, unless we see a change of heart from Ministers over our continued exclusion from the government’s cheaper ferry fares scheme.”
Mr McArthur has launched a campaign calling for an end to discriminatory delivery charges. To support the campaign constituents can visit: http://www.liammcarthur.org.uk/delivery