Saturday, November 14, 2020

Christine Jardine calls for free postage on independent shops' online orders

The Scotsman reports an innovative policy idea from the Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Christine Jardine:

Ms Jardine wants the UK Government to cover postage for online orders from independent shops to make them more favourable destinations for present buying.

She said: "So many gift shops and retailers across Edinburgh, and elsewhere, have been hit hard by the Covid-19 restrictions and now their major market of the year could also be undermined by the competition from huge retailers who can cater for the fact that many people have to shield or are uncomfortable going into shops.

"The Chancellor has already acted once to support the hospitality industry and now we hear that there may be a second winter Eat Out to Help Out scheme, so why are we not hearing that he is going to do the same for retailers?"

Christine has won support from the national chairman of the Federation for Small Businesses for this "creative" idea.

The Scotsman quotes him as saying:

"This is going to be the most important festive season our economy has ever seen and could be make-or-break for some of our small businesses."

It's interesting that online commerce, which sounds as though it should be the nearest thing to the 'perfect competition' of the economics textbooks, has in practice led to thumping monopolies. Sooner or later government is going to have to act on this.

And being seen to support small, local businesses is good politics for the Lib Dems.

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