SNP – Parcelforce penalises Scottish islands

MP for Ross, Skye and Lochaber Ian Blackford has said that Parcelforce Worldwide’s pricing strategy has put the Scottish Highlands and Islands at a disadvantage.

The SNP MP has criticised a policy that means that parcels sent from Zone 1 (England, Wales and the Scottish lowlands) to Zone 2 (the Highlands and Islands) are more expensive than those travelling in the other direction.

Blackford wrote a letter addressed to Parcelforce MD Gary Simpson saying, “I receive many complaints from constituents about the high cost of deliveries.

“It is not an acceptable situation that our businesses are being put at a disadvantage through being forced to pay extra delivery charges just because they happen to be located in a particular zone decided on by Parcelforce.

“They have adopted a bizarre and complex pricing structure which works against our Highland businesses when what they should have is a universal rate for commercial deliveries right across the UK to create a level playing field.”

In a tweet, Blackford asserted: “Highlanders and Islanders being ripped off by @parcelforce should be a universal market like letters.”

The British Isles is a collection of several dozen inhabited islands and due to the difficulty in getting e-commerce parcels to them, the smaller and less accessible outposts of the UK are often left at a disadvantage in this regard. Other countries’ postal operators are bound by their Universal Service Obligation to not penalise people for their residence and as a result they can participate in the digital commerce boom that in many cases otherwise the UK leads.

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