OFT Publishes Report Into Remote Communities

The Office of Fair Trading has published a review of the challenges facing consumers and businesses in remote communities.

The report gathered the views from remote communities across the UK, including the Scottish Islands, Northumberland and rural Wales.

Our own Council‘s Economic Development unit sent their response, and at the time, Strategic Investment Manager Diana Mompoloki, said there was “disbelief” from the OFT officers about the higher cost of petrol, building supplies and food here in Scilly.

Whilst the report takes a wider look at issues facing many remote communities in the UK, the OFT says they are following up on evidence provided to them about sea transport to Scilly.

The OFT highlight high prices in local stores, high fuel prices, concerns over digital connectivity, inflated charges for delivery of goods and limited or expensive public transport as key issues to be addressed to increase the competitiveness of rural communities.

They say the ‘invigorating’ effect of the internet on choice, prices and quality is being limited by connection speeds and issues with delivery of goods.

But they also point to innovative programmes in the Scottish Islands such as Community Buying Groups in which consumers join with local businesses to buy items in bulk, and closer working between Local Authority Trading Standards and the Citizen’s Advice Bureau to highlight breaches of consumer rights in home shopping.

The OFT said they received nearly 500 responses from individuals, public bodies, MPs, companies and charities across a wide spectrum of issues.