THE Conservative UK Government should “get a grip” on delivery costs after it emerged that Scottish shoppers will fork out a combined £12 million in surcharges over the festive period.

According to the latest figures from the independent Scottish Parliament Information Centre (SPICe), Scots aren’t just being penalised for deliveries over Christmas. The report also found that addresses in Scotland were forced to fork out an extra £40.1m this year in delivery surcharges relative to the rest of the UK.

The warning came from the Scottish Government Rural Affairs Minister Richard Lochhead, who has led the fight against unfair delivery fees through his Fair Delivery Charges campaign – launched in November 2017.

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Westminster has the powers to put an end to rip-off parcel delivery surcharges for Scots – but for too long now successive UK Governments have sat on their hands and done nothing,” said Lochhead.

“It is completely unjust that shoppers across Scotland are expected to fork out huge sums of money each year on these surcharges.”

Last year, the SNP MSP for Moray secured a commitment from the Advertising Standards Agency to crack down on certain practices. The UK’s regulator of advertising said it would tackle companies which, despite advertising UK-wide delivery, penalise residents and businesses in rural Scotland with delivery surcharges.

Lochhead added: “Alongside my colleagues in Westminster, I have led the campaign and repeatedly raised this issue with UK ministers but they have refused to listen, while delivery surcharges continue to hit the pockets of families across Scotland.

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“It’s time for the UK Government to take some real concrete action and get a grip of these sky-high surcharge fees.”

Last month, Citizens Advice Scotland said that more than one million Scots were being “ripped off” by unfair delivery charges because of where they live. The body named it a “postcode penalty” as it found consumers in the Highlands are charged an extra £15 per delivery on average.

The report also found that Scotland’s island communities are expected to fork out almost an extra £19 for deliveries.

Citizens Advice Scotland’s research also found that, of the 534 retailers they researched, 335 (63%) charged extra delivery for certain parts of the UK – with 72% of those surcharges applying to those in Scotland.

More than half (55%) of businesses which charge extra to deliver to certain parts of the UK also said they would refuse to deliver goods to any Scottish island, disadvantaging an estimated 100,000 people.

Lochhead’s colleague, the SNP MP Patricia Gibson, raised the issue on the Commons in July.

At the time, she said: “It is completely unjust that consumers in Scotland are expected to fork out an extra £38.1 million each year on rip-off parcel delivery surcharges – it’s time the UK Government, who hold responsibility for regulation, took concrete and decisive action to stop this.

“Scottish consumers in rural and remote areas – such as the Island of Arran in my constituency – are often more dependent on online shopping than those living on the mainland and should not have to pay extra delivery charges just because of where they live.”