Survey Form - Remote Communities Study
If you consider that you live in a remote community, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) would
be interested to hear your views on the issues that are most important to you in relation to
the supply of goods and services in your particular locality.
The OFT will not be collecting your name or address details. The information provided in this
survey form will be compiled on an anonymous basis and the composite data may be
published by the OFT at the conclusion of the study.
Q1. Please read the accompanying ‘Call for Evidence’ guide (see below). The guide
outlines the issues on which the OFT is interested to hear your views. You can write
your views and ideas directly into the box below. If your answer exceeds the box, please
include your additional views on another piece of paper and attach it to this survey form.
Question 1 Answer:
Please mark the boxes with an Xwhere appropriate.
Q3. Do you own or otherwise have the use of a motor vehicle (i.e. car, van,
motorcycle, scooter, etc)?
Under 18 18-29 30-39 40-49 50-64 65+
Not Employed Full Time Education Employed
Self Employed Retired
Please send your completed survey form by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or
by post to: Remote Communities Team, OFT Office, 23 Walker Street, Edinburgh EH3 7HX.
Consumers and businesses wishing to contribute to the study are requested to send their
views before Friday 20 April 2012.
If you have any queries or seek further information, please see www.oft.gov.uk/remcom.
The Call for Evidence Guide - Remote Communities Study
Background to the call for evidence
The OFT’s mission is to make markets work well for consumers by promoting and protecting
consumer interests throughout the UK. We also work to ensure that businesses are fair and
competitive. OFT recognises some specific challenges in relation to more remote areas
where interventions may have less impact because of market conditions like fewer suppliers,
fewer retailers, dispersed and sparser populations, higher distribution costs, and so on.
Others have done some work on this in the UK and overseas, though few focus on the costs
of goods and services. For instance, Consumer Focus’ work on rural consumers published in
As the UK’s competition and consumer authority the OFT is keen to understand the issues of
greatest importance to the communities affected, the role the OFT might play in addressing
these issues, how the OFT’s role relates to the role of others and to explore novel and
effective approaches to improving market outcomes in remote communities.
What is a remote community?
The call for evidence is not defining 'remote community' with scientific precision. What
makes a community remote may vary, but typically we are thinking of factors such as how
long it takes to access goods and services, how many people there are and how widely
dispersed. And the significance of remoteness may be accentuated by other factors such as
the age of the population and access to car transport.
We would like to hear from anyone who considers they live in a remote community. The
parts of the country that we expect to feature most highly include UK islands communities,
the Scottish Highlands, mid and West Wales, coastal and western Northern Ireland and in
England, much of the South-West, the coastal parts of Lincolnshire and East Anglia and
upland areas in Northumberland and Cumbria. We recognise within other areas too some
people will experience issues such as those faced by remote communities.
What evidence does the OFT want from consumers and
businesses in remote communities?
The OFT is already aware of a number of areas of high importance to remote communities.
Markets for energy, transport services, groceries and delivery of goods by post have all been
sources of complaints. We want to hear your views on these markets and also the other
markets that affect your everyday life. Tell us what’s good, what’s bad and what you would
like to see done differently to improve things. We want to hear about your experience of
remoteness, and how this affects the supply of goods and services.
For example, do you pay more for certain goods and services than is perhaps the case in a
less remote area? Do you get the same range of choice? Does the quality of the goods and
services vary? We are also interested in whether there are some markets that work better as
a consequence of remoteness.
We also want to know how you have dealt with the effects of remoteness (either positive or
negative) and what initiatives you think can make the most difference to any problems. For
example, maybe you know of successful initiatives that have resulted either in lower prices
or an improved range of goods and services being supplied.
What will we do with the evidence?
The evidence we gather will allow the OFT to:
identify the issues relating to the supply of goods and services which are most
important to people in remote communities
further develop the economic thinking that informs OFT approaches to issues in
highlight, through case studies, types of remedies or interventions that improve
the market experiences of remote communities.
Please note that we may choose to refer to comments received in any submission in our
published findings. In deciding whether to do so, we will have regard to (among other
considerations) the need for excluding from publication, so far as that is practicable, any
information relating to the private affairs of an individual or any commercial information
relating to a business which, if published, might, in our opinion, significantly harm the
individual's interests or, as the case may be, the legitimate business interests of that
business ('confidential information').