Bill is backing the OFT in its call for evidence on the market based challenges facing remote communities across the UK.

It is common knowledge that prices of many goods are often higher in very rural areas and access to key services, like banks and public transport, may be limited. Delivery can prove problematic, as well costly, and variety or quality of products might be compromised.

The country’s competition and consumer authority is therefore keen to get a better understanding of the issues at hand – and how to address them.

Individuals and businesses wishing to make a contribution should send in their views by no later than 20 April. The OFT expects to publish the outcome of its study in July.

Bill commented:

‘Many very rural areas face challenging market conditions – with fewer suppliers, reduced access to key services, less choice and higher distribution costs.

Fuel prices in particular are a serious cause for concern amongst those families and small businesses who need to travel long distances on a regular basis. 

There is no exact definition of remote. But at 82 people per km2 Herefordshire has the fourth lowest population density of all the counties and unitary authorities in England, so the OFT clearly has communities like ours in mind.

This is an excellent chance for us, as consumers, to get our views across. To say what’s working, what isn’t, and how it might be improved.

An online feedback for is available on the OFT’s website: http://www.oft.gov.uk/.

Alternatively, you could send them an email at remotecommunities@oft.gsi.gov.uk or write to:

Remote Communities Team
Office of Fair Trading
23 Walker Street
Edinburgh
EH3 7HX

 I very much hope everyone with something to say will consider getting involved’.

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