News wholesalers told Enough’s Enough on unfair carriage charges

NFRN members have told news wholesalers that Enough’s Enough when it comes to unfair carriage charges and that an independent review is vital to stop more shops closing or newsagents deserting the news category.

Senior news wholesale management are in no doubt that independent retailers have had enough of punishing carriage charges after being presented with thousands of petition cards calling for an end to these outdated taxes.

National President Mike Mitchelson, vice president Stuart Reddish, chairman of the Scottish news and magazines sub committee Antonio Rea, former Scottish president Rory O’Brien, and NFRN head of news Brian Murphy travelled to Menzies Distribution’s Edinburgh head office on April 18 to hand over a sackful of cards calling for a full, independent and transparent review of the decision making process behind carriage charges.

The cards were accepted by Menzies head of customer services Linda Gardiner and channel manager retail Claire McDonald.

Meanwhile, Smiths News chief executive Jon Bunting has also been made aware of his customers’ anger over carriage charges.

Speaking after the presentation to Menzies Distribution management, Mr Mitchelson said: “Carriage charges are unfair and illogical and news wholesalers and publishers have to wake up to the fact that when it comes to these costs that independent retailers have had more than enough.

“Indeed, on April 1 retailers served by Menzies Distribution saw their carriage charges rise by up to nearly 4 per cent.

This was a hit that few independent retailers could take, especially as it coincided with steep rises to national minimum wage rates, utility bills and pension contributions.

“The fantastic response we have had to our petition shows how fired up members are about ever increasing rip-off carriage charges that blight lives and threaten the future of small shops in their communities.

“Each year these charges are progressively more damaging to our members’ businesses and the news industry has to be aware that the next round of carriage charges could put many news retailers out of business.”

The NFRN’s Enough’s Enough petition warns that news retailers are at breaking point, as carriage charges have risen by 20 per cent since 2013.

“If further reviews and rises continue to take place without consultation or without clear justification, local and traditional community stockists will close in great numbers.

“These closures will accelerate a sharper decline in newspaper and magazine titles being available to consumers.

“I have had ENOUGH of carriage charges, and request that a full and transparent review of the decision making process is undertaken by an independent party at the earliest opportunity.”

Both news wholesalers have been asked to take on board the strength of feeling that members have against carriage charges. Mr Mitchelson added: “We look forward to receiving their feedback and comments.”

The NFRN will continue to campaign against carriage charges after Annual Conference in June and this will be a major focus in 2020.

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