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MSPs to Meet With Royal Mail over Caithness and Sutherland Postcode Campaign

31st January 2014

Highlands and Islands (Scottish Labour) MSPs Rhoda Grant and David Stewart have arranged high level discussion with Royal Mail in the Scottish Parliament next week to discuss viability, advantages and any disadvantages of a establishing a new Caithness and Sutherland postcode, ending the use of the Kirkwall based KW code currently in use.

Many people living in Caithness and Sutherland who use the KW postcode claim that due to sharing a postcode with Orkney this subjects them to island level delivery charges despite the area being part of mainland U.K. and therefore are getting behind a campaign to establish a new area postcode.

A number of pressure groups which have developed on Social networking site Facebook have criticised delivery companies for charging excess fees and charges to deliver to parts of the Highlands despite being UK mainland.

In another recent postcode problem, the Post Office in Thurso which while closed for refurbishment redirected customers to Orkney, due to postcode grouping rather than the more accessible Wick. A number of groups such as Thurso Community Council have backed a change in postcode and Thurso Councillor, Roger Saxon has also backed the move.

Rhoda Grant MSP and David Stewart MSP are due to meet with Royal Mail, Director of External Relations, Julie Pirone in the Scottish Parliament next week to discuss the issue.

Mrs Grant saidI fully support the campaign to establish a separate postcode for Caithness and Sutherland, and I think it could help end the unfair delivery charges parts of the Highland mainland are subjected to with regard to high delivery charges associated with sharing an Island postcode.

A change in postcode has been done before in Morven and there are positives and negatives attached to it, so I think it is important to meet with Royal Mail and to sit down and properly discuss the viability, advantages and any potential disadvantages this could bring.

Mr Stewart saidThe idea of giving Caithness and Sutherland its own postcode strikes me as a positive move. Obviously this could be a long process and wont solve all the issues overnight, however I think in the long term this could be a positive move for the north Highlands beyond simply delivery charges.

Caithness and Sutherland, Area Leader, Deirdre Mackay a long time campaigner against high delivery charges in the north was keen to stress that a separate postcode may not resolve all the issues and work alongside business would also be required, commenting Mrs Mackay said

I am delighted to see that our MSPs are investigating the possibility of a new postcode for Caithness and Sutherland, it is right and proper that we make sure this is a viable move and that there wont be any negative consequences for the area before pursuing it .

Speaking to Trading Standards and Businesses its clear that postcodes are not the only problem in delivery charges and we also need to look beyond this towards encouraging business to adopt principles which would ensure everyone will get a fair delivery price.

I look forward to hearing the outcome of discussions between the MSPs and Royal Mail next week.

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