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Disappointment over delivery charges action plan review delay

Orkney MSP Liam McArthur

Orkney’s MSP Liam McArthur has expressed disappointment at further delays in the Scottish Government’s review of their Fairer Deliveries for All: An Action Plan.

The action plan was first published in November 2018 to identify ways of tackling unfair parcel delivery charges in rural and remote areas. In December 2019, Mr McArthur lodged a series of parliamentary questions and wrote to the Business Minister, Jamie Hepburn, to establish what progress had been made under the action plan.

In response, Mr Hepburn, confirmed that the action plan’s annual review, which was due to take place in November 2019, had been delayed until early in the new year because of the snap General Election.

However, the Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) has now revealed that the review has been further delayed until April 2020.

Mr McArthur said: “Unfair delivery charges are unfortunately an all too common problem across rural and island communities. I regularly hear from constituents who are frustrated and angry at being regularly charged over the odds for deliveries.

“The government’s action plan was, at the time, a welcome acknowledgement that a strategy was needed to address this problem.  The hope was that it could help ensure greater fairness and transparency in charging.

“Last year, however, people in Orkney paid over £1 million in additional delivery surcharges. Not only is this an eye-watering amount, but it also calls into question the effectiveness of the government’s action plan.

“Unfortunately, the Scottish Government is showing no urgency in reviewing the plan and identifying what improvements might be made, in collaboration with the UK Government, for the future.

“That is not good enough. Ministers must stop dragging their heels and demonstrate that they are fully committed to making sure their action plan really does deliver for all.”

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