Online Sales Tax an Opportunity to End Unfair Delivery Charges

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has called for any new online sales tax to be used by the Treasury to address longstanding concerns about unfair delivery charges for the isles. Media reports have suggested that the government may propose a 2% levy on online sales, or a charge on deliveries, in order to cut congestion and emissions.

 

Commenting, Mr Carmichael said:

 

“It has been evident for some time that online retailers benefit from significant financial advantages over bricks-and-mortar shops. This was the case before the pandemic and has only become more apparent with the effects of lockdown. A new tax on online retail could be a valid way to recoup government spending but it cannot simply be a sweeping measure.

 

"The imposition of an online sales tax could be the moment to address longstanding local concerns about online retailers treating Orkney and Shetland – and other communities that are more distant from the big cities – differently. I shall be asking the Chancellor of the Exchequer to offer a tax break to those companies that offer a single universal charge for delivery over the whole country. The cost to the Exchequer could be small but for communities across the Highlands and Islands it would at last settle a long-standing grievance. Any mail order company that wants to treat us differently from the rest of the country in the future can do so but they must pay for the privilege."


Carmichael backs whisky industry campaign to #CallTimeOnTariffs

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has backed the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA)’s campaign urging the government to take action on tariffs imposed by the US on whisky imports from the UK. A 25% tariff was imposed on single malt whisky in October 2019, with over £200m lost in export revenue according to the SWA. Whisky exports to the US were worth over £1bn in 2019; the US is the most valuable export market for Scottish whisky producers.

 

Media reports have suggested that the US is now considering expanding its tariffs to include blended whisky and gin.

 

Commenting, Mr Carmichael said:

 

“I am glad to back the Scotch Whisky Association’s campaign to call time on tariffs. With US trade talks ongoing the government needs to stand up for this key export industry. If this is to be a golden age of trade with the US then the government should prove it.

 

“Moving from tariff-free access to a 25% rate has caused enormous damage already to our distilleries. Now faced with the economic shock of Covid-19, the situation is even more urgent. These tariffs are a roadblock to the recovery that we need. If the government fails to stand up to Donald Trump then we face years of strong growth going down the drain.”

 

He continued:

 

“Far from reducing tariffs the Trump administration is threatening to extend them to cover gin and blended whisky. We have world-class whisky distilleries and quality gin producers in the Northern Isles, which have had great success exporting globally. We cannot allow this success to be undermined by trade barriers.”


Antisemitism must be challenged wherever it is found

The use of antisemitic tropes in political campaigning has been condemned by Liberal Democrat Foreign Affairs Spokesperson, Alistair Carmichael.  

 

Mr Carmichael is part of a 48-hour boycott of Twitter, protesting against the social media platform’s failure to act against antisemitic posts by grime artist Wiley. He was commenting on reports that Republican attack ads in November’s Senate race in Georgia had also relied on antisemitic messaging.

 

Mr Carmichael commented:

 

“The adverts run by the Republicans in Georgia are disgraceful. They have doctored an image of a candidate who happens to be Jewish to enlarge his nose. They show him next to the Democrat minority leader in the Senate, who also happens to be Jewish, with a claim that “Democrats are trying to buy Georgia”. It is a shameless mash-up of some of the oldest antisemitic tropes imaginable.”

 

“I am proud to call Jon Ossoff a friend. He is an exceptionally talented campaigner. I don’t expect everyone to agree with him but if you can’t express your disagreement without resorting to tactics like this then you have to take a long hard look at yourself.”

 

He continued:

 

“This week as people around the world take a stand against Twitter’s failure to call out antisemitism, we should all call it out wherever we find it. We were all quick to condemn it coming from the hard left in the UK. We should be just as quick to condemn it when it comes from the right in America.”

 

“Antisemitism is not a thing of the past. It is alive and well in all parts of the world – whether overt or hidden – and we need to be alive to its harms. This is an early warning sign and must not be ignored.”


Isles representatives calls for public views on energy price rises

Northern Isles representatives Alistair Carmichael MP and Beatrice Wishart MSP are asking constituents to get in touch with examples of large energy price increases and difficulties with suppliers. The Parliamentarians are gathering evidence of the situation in Orkney and Shetland to demand action from energy suppliers and government on unfair charges and poor customer service.

 

The move follows representations from constituents who are frustrated with rising costs over the last few years and comes as recent research from comparethemarket that found 72% of households across the UK have seen an increase in their energy usage since lockdown began.

 

Mr Carmichael said:

 

“Too many households in the Northern Isles remain in fuel poverty. The added impact of the pandemic and the economic uncertainty make that chronic challenge all the more acute. It is all the more important then that customers are charged fairly for their energy use and that billing issues are sorted out quickly.

 

“In these difficult times we all need to play our part in supporting one another. Correspondence we have received from constituents, however, shows that some energy suppliers are not necessarily doing what they should to support their customers. We would encourage anyone who has experienced energy issues to contact us so that we can gather evidence of the scale of the problem in the Northern Isles.

 

Ms Wishart added:

 

“People are understandably complaining about steady and steep rises in costs over the last few years. When coupled with stretched budgets as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic, this will be worrying time for many people.

 

“Islanders shouldn’t be penalised with unfair costs. We know that some people feel that the price they’re being charged per unit has gone through the roof in recent months with no real justification from energy companies. We also know it’s difficult for some people to switch providers because of meters used in the isles. You can get in touch with us if you would like to share your experience.”


Minister refuses to guarantee political independence of Intelligence and Security Committee

Liberal Democrat spokesperson for foreign affairs, Alistair Carmichael, has today voiced concern about the political independence of the Intelligence Security Committee after the government refused to answer questions from Julian Lewis MP, and repeated by Mr Carmichael, about allegations of political interference. Mr Carmichael also noted the importance of launching a full investigation of Russian interference to ensure confidence in electoral integrity.

Read more

Carmichael meets US Secretary of State on China human rights issues

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has joined a cross-party meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to discuss human rights issues in China and Hong Kong. Mr Carmichael spoke with Mr Pompeo as part of a panel of MPs and said it was essential that international pressure was not directed at China solely for narrow US interests, but instead had a wider goal of re-establishing the international rules-based order.

Read more

“Blank cheque”: Carmichael condemns Tory rejection of trade deal scrutiny

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has condemned the government’s blocking of amendments designed to allow Parliament to scrutinise and vote on future trade bills. Speaking after votes late last night, in which the government ordered its MPs to reject any amendments which would guarantee oversight of the terms of a future trade deal with the US or other countries, Mr Carmichael warned that this amounted to a “blank cheque” for the government to do as it pleased in a future trade deal with the United States, including cutting food and farming standards and environmental protections.

Read more

Time to recognise Uyghur genocide – Carmichael

Liberal Democrat spokesperson for foreign affairs, Alistair Carmichael MP, has today called on the government to recognise the situation of the Uyghur people in China as genocide. Speaking in Parliament following a statement by the Foreign Secretary, Mr Carmichael noted recent examples of human rights abuses reminiscent of genocide against the Uyghurs, and the importation in the UK of surveillance technology used in Xinjiang province in China.

Read more

Isles representatives call for public views on energy price rises

Northern Isles representatives Alistair Carmichael MP and Beatrice Wishart MSP are asking constituents to get in touch with examples of large energy price increases and difficulties with suppliers. The Parliamentarians are gathering evidence of the situation in Orkney and Shetland to demand action from energy suppliers and government on unfair charges and poor customer service.

Read more

Restart of UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia cannot be justified – Carmichael

Liberal Democrat spokesperson for foreign affairs, Alistair Carmichael, has denounced the government’s decision to resume arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Speaking in an urgent debate on the issue Mr Carmichael highlighted ongoing human rights abuses within the country and recent evidence of rule-breaking in international trade. The government reopened arms sales to the Saudi regime last week after declaring that human rights violations in its conflict in Yemen, including indiscriminate bombing of civilian areas, were not part of a “pattern” of abuse.

Read more

Sign in with Facebook, Twitter or Email.