LOCAL MSP John Lamont has welcomed a new scheme from the Office of Fair Trading which addresses the issues facing residents in rural communities like Berwickshire.
The Remote Communities Project hopes to improve the Office’s understanding of the challenges facing consumers and businesses in rural areas and is calling for evidence from the public to help them.
People in rural communities often have to face higher food and fuel prices, and are forced to travel long distances to access vital services and encouraging local rural residents to make their views heard by giving evidence to the OFT, John Lamont commented: “There are many unique factors that affect consumers and businesses in the Borders.
“I hope that this project will help alert the OFT to the problems they face.
“The prices of many goods and services can be a lot higher in remote communities with the variety of choice also very restricted.
“This is in addition to the often expensive fuel prices they have to pay.
“When residents often have to travel large distances just to get to school or work this is a particular concern.
“There is also an issue regarding the accessibility of vital services, such as doctors surgeries and chemists, with those living in remote communities often having to face a long drive to reach some of them.
“I hope that this consultation will offer people in the Borders a chance to have their views and opinions heard.
“I would encourage any rural resident to let the OFT know of their views.”
Anyone wishing to contribute their opinions can do so either by visiting the OFT’s website or by e-mailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org.