Rip-off delivery charges are relegating communities across the Highlands and north-east to “second class citizen” status.
MPs have called on the UK Government to take “real action” and legislate to stop firms charging excessively for deliveries across northern Scotland.
Despite claims of nationwide flat fees for delivery, businesses can apply delivery surcharges for remote and rural areas or refuse delivery altogether.
Far North MP Jamie Stone, speaking in a Westminster Hall debate, warned that if action was not taken then many may conclude “life south was easier”.
He said: “People on basic incomes are having to pay far more for many consumer items than their friends and relatives have to do in Glasgow or Birmingham or London.
“If this inequality is not addressed, then many people could simply decide that life south was a lot easier and move away and that would be a tragedy to return to the bad old times of the past.”
He added: “This is the issue that makes my constituents and many other people living in the remotest parts of Scotland slightly second class citizens.”
Moray MP Douglas Ross, speaking in support of Mr Stone, said: “The issue with excessive and rip-off delivery charges does not just affect the Highlands of Scotland but indeed pretty much the whole of my Moray constituency.
“It is absolutely incredible that in 2019 we still have couriers and companies saying that Moray and the Highlands are not part of the mainlined United Kingdom.
“I don’t know how many times we have to tell them, but they seem blind to the fact that Moray, the Highlands, the north-east and other parts of Scotland are part of mainland UK.”
Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst, responding on behalf of the Government, said she “recognised this as a priority issue that does need to be addressed”.
But she added: “This is not a quick fix issue and I am unconvinced at the moment for the need of further legislation.
“It does not mean it is being ignored and I look forward to hearing of further progress of the Consumer Protection Partnership’s work and the Scottish Government’s own initiative.”