It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Ms Dorries, and to respond to this important debate. I congratulate my hon. Friend Douglas Ross on securing it and echo the comments of Gill Furniss about his eloquent speech. I know that he first raised the issue at Prime Minister’s questions two weeks ago and that he met my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State earlier this week to reiterate his concerns.
Let me start by reminding hon. Members of the Government’s general approach. We are committed to promoting growth in the UK economy, and empowered consumers are vital to that. Consumers who demand quality products and services, and are prepared to take their custom elsewhere if their needs are not being met, drive competition, innovation and productivity. The industrial strategy we published last month reminds us that consumer choices are key to a productive and efficient business base. It also recognises the importance of the local economy and infrastructure.
If consumers feel that they are being unfairly treated because of their location, they can challenge retailers, particularly if they are aware of a particular courier or delivery company that is known to deliver to it more cheaply. It is not unreasonable for businesses to seek to cover the legitimate costs of delivery, but customers in remote areas all too often face charges that go beyond a reasonable rate of return.