Richard Lochhead

Moray SNP News



Moray’s MP Angus Robertson has visited recently launched Elgin business ‘Pencil Me In’, which sells high quality and unique stationery items, in the town’s Batchen Street where he discussed concerns over delivery charges with entreprenurial business owner Sarah Holmes.

As a small retail business that is generally placing smaller orders with suppliers Sarah says business growth and success is made all the more challenging by unfair delivery charges.

The long-running issue affects many thousands of individuals and businesses right across Moray, who experience delivery surcharges that add significantly to the cost of items.

Angus Robertson MP said:

“The Scottish Government, SNP MP at Westminsters and other organisations such as Citizens Advice Scotland continue to put pressure on online sellers, delivery companies and the UK Government, which retains responsibility for regulation of mail and parcel delivery. There has been some success with a number of companies offering alternatives such as standard Royal Mail prices, which can often be cheaper than their normal courier for areas like Moray and the Highlands but there are still far too many examples of excessive delivery charges.

“It is hard to see how some delivery companies can courier items at a very reasonable rate, while others slap on outrageous surcharges for the same journey to what is a well populated area between two major cities.

“Business owners like Sarah are working extremely hard to get exciting new businesses like ‘Pencil Me In’ off the ground and it is obstacles like excessive delivery charges that really put pressure on that. Pencil Me In has been shortlisted for the British Business Awards Sole Trader of the Year Award, which is a fantastic accolade but good businesses like this are being seriously undermined by high delivery charges.

“This continues to be an issue that comes up regularly in my mailbag and along with SNP colleagues at Westminster such as neighbouring Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey MP, Drew Hendry, I am committed to maintaining pressure on the UK Government to better regulate the sector and make delivery charging fair for everyone.”

‘Pencil Me In’ owner Sarah Holmes said:

“Unfair delivery charges are a real challenges for small businesses like mine. When you are placing smaller orders from a number of different suppliers these excessive delivery charges can really hammer your profit margin, making it harder to compete with established businesses, especially large chain stores.

“I want to offer a range of unique design led products that people can’t get in other places but you still have to sell at a reasonable price to get customers through the door. A system where you can get such a wide variety of delivery charges - often with no choice from suppliers of which delivery company is used - makes it hard to plan ahead and give customers a consistent and high quality offer.

“We need to see changes to this unfair system if we want to support entrepreneurs who are trying to get businesses off the ground, grow them and provide wider employment.”

The SNP’s Mr Robertson has raised the issue previously with UK Ministers and is raising the issue again with the newly appointed Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility. Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey MP, Drew Hendry has also tabled recent motions in parliament on the ongoing issue.