Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has voiced frustration after the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Jesse Norman argued that the Government “should not intervene” in unfair delivery charges to rural and island communities. Mr Carmichael received the response after raising concerns in Parliament about the high charges faced by islanders buying products online, and the need to incentivise a universal delivery charge by retailers.
In the ministerial response Mr Norman said:
“I am sure you recognise that the way in which businesses choose to offer their products and structure their delivery charges is a matter best decided by that business, and that Government should not intervene in this.”
Reacting, Mr Carmichael said:
“Mr Norman clearly has had the time to get into Twitter wars with journalists this week – perhaps he should spend a little time on the day job. This response on the issue of delivery charge fairness is utterly empty.
“To suggest that the Government has no role in protecting people from delivery price gouging is both tone-deaf and wrong on the facts. Royal Mail provides a universal delivery service precisely for those reasons. I am not arguing that any one solution is perfect but for the Minister to say that there are no possible solutions at all is nonsense.
“If we leave delivery costs to the market alone then it is people in rural and island communities who will be the ones losing out. That may be fine for the south-east of England but this is no way for a Government of all the people – and every part of the United Kingdom – to govern.”