The National Federation of Retail Newsagents has blasted newspaper publishers and magazine distributors for failing to stop wholesalers increasing carriage charges to retailers.

In a strongly worded open letter, CEO Paul Baxter accused publishers and distributors of using “empty words” and neglecting to live up to “the responsibility to the serfs in your fiefdom”.

“If you were active in minimising carriage charge increases or in addressing poor service from wholesale branches, why haven’t you told us?” Baxter wrote.

“Or is it the case that you have done nothing and the things you told the OFT were just empty words as usual? As the ‘noble’ ones calling all the shots in this industry, where do we see you exercising your responsibility to the serfs in your fiefdom? Or, would you prefer the competition ­authorities to sort out the problems you create?”

The NFRN would continue to pursue an investigation of the sector by the OFT, he added. “The NFRN and its members have grown tired of waiting for a news industry that fairly treats all of its constituent parts,” he said. “If our members are to get a fair deal, we have nowhere else to go.”

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