The Association of News Retailing (ANR) has stepped up its fight with publishers over the future of the news supply chain.

ANR managing director John Lennon has written to MPs, the Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell and the Office of Fair Trading’s (OFT) new chief executive John Fingleton to try to persuade them that the OFT’s provisional opinion, which would introduce competition and choice into the magazine supply chain, should not be watered down.

In the letter, Lennon urges the OFT to accept the draft opinion and end the uncertainty caused by the delay of its final conclusion. He said: “At the moment there is no choice of supply, monopoly wholesalers are offering poor service, increasing carriage charges and slashing margins, and thousands of independent retailers have closed over the past year.

“If the OFT backs down, it will endorse this system and its decimation of retailers. Rather than the OFT and MPs being lobbied just from the perspective of the publishers, we are balancing this view by explaining the benefits of greater choice.”

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