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MP Priti Patel has promised to kickstart a new campaign to smash the news and magazine delivery supply chain monoply.
She was speaking at a summit meeting with leading independent retailers organised by RN at Portcullis House on Monday.
Ms Patel, who chairs the all party parliamentary group for small shops, said too few MPs und
erstood how publishers and wholesalers controlled the newstrade, while independent retailers were left with no choice of supplier.
After hearing calls from retailers for the government to lift restrictions on collection action on micro businesses, Ms Patel said: “I will ask a question in at Business question time in Parliament to minister of state Michael Fallon that will re-open this whole issue for public debate.”
The 1998 Competition Act bans collective action by independent retail bodies and puts them at a disadvantage to large chains, says the NFRN.
Forest Hill retailer Mukesh Patel told the summit: “Wholesalers increase carriage charges ‘because of increased cost of distribution’ but where can I pass this on?”
London retailer Peter Wagg of News on the Wharf said: “Every year Smiths’ and Menzies’ profits increase. The only variable is how much carriage charge they levy and they have a monopoly.”
NFRN chief executive Paul Baxter welcomed Ms Patel’s initiative, saying: “This could kickstart our campaign to seek a level playing field in our industry, which is all we are trying to do.”
Last year the Office of Fair Trading decided not to prioritise a probe into the newstrade, ending a two-decade NFRN struggle for an investigation into what it sees an unfair industry practices.
At last month’s NFRN national council meeting in Daventry, delegates approved linking with other retailer organisations on the continent to lobby Brussels for permission for micro-business to act together.
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