A SNP MSP has called on the UK Government to crack down on companies charging exorbitant rates for delivery in some parts of Scotland after research revealed that Scots pay almost £45 million a year for packages to be delivered.

Many communities, particularly in the Highlands, incurred high ­delivery surcharges in 2021, when a ­significant number of people relied on home ­delivery rather than shopping in-person because of a need to isolate during the pandemic.

SNP MSP for Moray Richard Lochhead, who is also a minister in the Scottish Government, branded the scandal “a postcode lottery” and called on the UK Government to act now.

READ MORE: Scottish shoppers face £40m more delivery fees than rUK

Lochhead has previously urged Conservative ministers to step in but they have so far refused to review the legislation to end these surcharges.

Research from the Scottish ­Parliament Information Centre (SPICe) showed the annual costs incurred by Scottish adults in areas commonly impacted by ­parcel ­delivery surcharges totalled a ­staggering £44.8 million.

The SNP MSP cited the ­following examples charges faced by some Scots:

  • Purchases from Smyth Toy Stores incur an additional £4.99 for delivery in Scottish Highlands & ­Islands ­postcodes. A remote control ­Lamborghini car at £24.99 is free delivery to Surrey and £4.99 for Elgin.
  • Beer Hawk charge an additional £5 and take two more working days to deliver to Scottish Highlands. A £10 “Christmas Canister” would ­double in price due to the £9.99 delivery fee.
  • PlumPlay impose a £14.95 ­delivery fee for deliveries up to £99. A play lumberjack workbench costing £79.99 is free delivery to Surrey but £14.95 for Elgin.
  • A Moray constituent ordering a trampoline from PlumPlay was asked to fork out £149.95 for Elgin delivery, yet told delivery to Rothes would be free.
  • Converse trainers costing £52 (official site) cost £15 to be delivered to an IV postcode but advertise free standard delivery on orders over £50.

“These latest examples show just how much that some Scottish households have to pay for the basic ability to shop online during a pandemic,” said Lochhead.

“The Christmas crunch is ­undoubtedly felt much more acutely by those forced to fork out when free delivery is routinely advertised.

“This postcode lottery has gone on for far too long – it’s time for the UK government to crack down on this scandalous practice once and for all.

“Over the last year in particular, the pandemic meant many across Scotland chose to do their shopping online – and therefore faced exorbitant delivery charges. In my own constituency of Moray, some lorries even drive past homes that pay huge surcharges to get to homes that benefit from free delivery. It’s a farce that is ripping off customers.”

He added: “Tory Ministers have so far only paid lip service on this issue. If this was a problem in their own backyards, tough action would have been introduced long before now.”

Research by Scottish ­Parliament ­Information Centre (SPICe) ­estimated the cost of delivery charges by Scottish Parliamentary ­constituency. It gave the following amounts:

Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch £9,063,000

Inverness and Nairn £8,490,000

Caithness, Sutherland and Ross £6,972,000

Argyll and Bute £4,925,000

Moray £4,414,000

Na h-Eileanan an Iar £2,406,000

Banffshire and Buchan Coast £2,371,000

Shetland Islands £2,013,000

Orkney Islands £1,618,000

Aberdeenshire East £633,000

Aberdeenshire West £633,000

Perthshire North £556,000

Cunninghame North £525,000

Stirling £180,00

Lochhead has been campaigning on “rip-off” delivery fees for several years and in 2017 Theresa May’s ­government promised to examine ­evidence and assess what type of ­action is required.

However, despite the pledge four years ago customers in Scotland continue to face higher delivery charges than those in England.

It is legal for delivery companies to make differential charges but they have a duty to consider the fairness of their pricing structures and a legal obligation to ensure delivery charges and conditions are clear to consumers before they place an order.

Delivery fees are reserved to Westminster though the UK Government say it is up to the Scottish Government to improve transport links to help reduce costs.