When the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) made its decision not to refer the newspaper and magazine distribution sector to the Competition Commission (CC) it cited that it’s primary interest was in the protection of consumer interest and that it felt a market referral was not in the consumer interest.
Well, in three weeks, 20,000 consumers who use our members’ shops disagreed by signing our Press for Reform petition.
The petition that hit member’s shops called for consumer support for their small shops that are currently suffering under the operational monopoly of the multiple wholesale distributors.
This means that, while retailers are managing the decline of the sector, they are being faced with arbitrary delivery charge hikes, married with ever decreasing profit margins and consistently poor service.
The 10 Downing Street Petition called upon the Prime Minister to support the Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport (CMS) Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt, and Secretary of State at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable, to use their powers under the Enterprise Act 2002 to refer the market to the Competition Commission for a full Market Investigation Report.
Of the 20,000 signatories, 452 MPs constituencies were covered and the NFRN is now writing to all of those MPs to lend their support to the campaign.
The petition is hugely important in calling into question the OFT’s assumption that retailers’ interests are anathema to consumer interests, and this is illustrated perfectly in a statement made by Karen Bradley MP (Staffordshire Moorlands) who delivered the Petition to the Prime Minister:
“It is incredible that, in less than a month, 20,000 customers of independent newsagents across the country signed a petition in support of a Competition Commission review of the newspaper distribution sector. In considering whether to make the recommendation for a referral, I should think the OFT would find it hard to ignore this overwhelming support from consumers: the business case and consumer support are clearly there to make the referral.”
You can help too by using our letter as a guide to write to your MP and back the campaign too.
For more information or assistance on the parliamentary arm of the Press for Reform campaign, please don’t hesitate to contact Niki Haywood at email@example.com