SNP OPPOSITION COUNCILLORS have branded the decision not to back their motion of support for Moray MSP Richard Lochhead’s campaign against excessive delivery charges as ‘bizarre’.
One of four motions put by the SNP group at the head of the Full Council meeting on Tuesday called for the Leader of Moray Council to write to the UK Government urging regulatory changes that ensured parity for Moray’s residents and businesses.
However, the motion by Councillors Shona Morrison and Sonya Warren sparked a further debate as Administration councillors pointed out the issue was already being dealt with by both Mr Lochhead and Douglas Ross MP – and it had been raised both at Holyrood and Westminster in recent weeks.
SNP councillors insisted the motion should be backed in support of both the MP and MSP – although so far they had been working independently on the same issue rather than together.
The motion was lost 13-12 on the casting vote on the Convener. Following the meeting Councillor Morrison said: “On a day when the Tories failed to back a single opposition motion, they ended up voting against something that their own MP is campaigning for and on an issue that people the length and breadth of Moray feel incredibly strongly about.
“If there’s one thing that we surely can all agree on it’s that delivery charging policies for Moray and the Highlands are ludicrous. We should all be getting behind the efforts of our local MSP and MP and campaigning for the regulatory changes that will force delivery companies to act.
“Instead the Council’s administration have politicised everything that was proposed today, even things that they agree with, and have opposed the SNP’s motions simply for the sake of opposing them.”
Buckie SNP Councillor Sonya Warren, who seconded the motion, said: “Excessive delivery charges affect residents and businesses in Moray alike. While some companies like Amazon and, more recently, Halfords have managed to implement fair delivery charging policies, many others are still penalising Moray folk.
“There are still far too many examples of companies taking downright liberties with delivery charges.
“You would think that this simple request could have been backed by the Conservatives but they are making themselves look like a laughing stock by opposing proposals by the SNP, even when they agree with them.”
Conservative Leader Responds
However, last night the leader of the Conservative group insisted that they did agree with the first part of the SNP motion.
Councillor Tim Eagle said: “We do recognise the ongoing campaign against unfair delivery charges which have a detrimental impact on both businesses and residents in Moray.
“Many of us have been affected by these charges and it is a disgrace – and I widely support any attempt to rectify this. Our concern was with the call to ask for a regulatory change. There has been several successes by both the MP and MSP to challenging individual companies and this seemed the best way forward with this campaign, rather than asking for central governments to start telling businesses what there charges should be.
“I am also aware that the Interactive Media Retail Group (IMRG), which represents several large and small online retail businesses, has been involved with this for many years now and continues to look into high delivery costs throughout the UK.
“As a councillor I certainly will be bringing any report of this by local people to the attention of my MP and MSP and will be writing to companies myself asking them to think again about additional charges.”