In a debate in the Scottish Parliament this week, Orkney MSP Liam McArthur secured the support of the Scottish Government to examine collection hubs at ferry terminals which Mr McArthur described as a “way of making delivery charges cheaper”.
The debate, which took place last Wednesday [6 December], came in the wake of a new report published ‘Postcode Penalty: Delivering Solutions’ by Citizens Advice Scotland.
The publication reports new research that reveals people living on Scottish islands, including in Orkney, pay up on average 50% more for the cost of deliveries.
Speaking in the chamber, Orkney’s MSP asked the Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy, Paul Wheelhouse MSP, if he would “update us [The Scottish Parliament] on progress on potential drop-off points at, for example, ferry terminals?”
According to the Liam McArthur MSP, the former Transport Minister Derek Mackay MSP made a commitment in 2015 to ask Transport Scotland to examine the possibility of creating collection hubs at ferry terminals as a way of making delivery charges cheaper.
Responding to Mr McArthur, the Minister for Business acknowledged what he described as a “positive suggestion” and confirmed he would be “happy to pick up the suggestion on ferry terminals with Mr Yousaf [The Islands and Transport Minister].”
Commenting after the debate, Mr McArthur said:
“Citizens Advice Scotland’s report demonstrates that there are over one million people living in Scotland who are forced to pay additional surcharges for online purchases. For those living in the islands, those charges are even higher, sometimes exceeding the value of the product being bought. In Orkney, we know that all too well.
“It is right that the Scottish Parliament sends out a clear message about the determination of MSPs from all parties to tackle unfair delivery charges. CAS has made a number of recommendations about action that can be taken, including more collaboration between delivery companies and better use of the Post Office network.
“I am also pleased that the Minister for Business has confirmed that the Scottish Government will explore pick up points at ferry terminals as a potential way in which costs can be reduced. I look forward to seeing what comes out of that work.
“In the meantime, it is not enough just to name and shame companies that impose unfair surcharges. They must also be challenged to change their practice. I would therefore encourage anyone in Orkney to get in touch if they have been hit with delivery surcharges.”