01 Apr 2009

Controversial UK Government plans for part-privatisation of Royal Mail have been described as being in pieces today (Wednesday) by the SNP MP for Glasgow East, John Mason, after a House of Commons Parliamentary Committee said the government has not made the case for the move, and criticised the worrying lack of transparency over Lord Mandelson’s proposals.

The proposals, which have caused consternation for customers, Royal Mail employees and many others, have been a major focus of concern at Westminster in recent weeks.

Mr Mason has received a large mail-bag on this issue, having been contacted by Royal Mail staff and trade union representatives as well as a large number of local people who are concerned about the impact of the proposals on their area. Along with his SNP colleagues, and other MPs, John Mason has pledged to continue fighting against these plans.

The report published by the Business and Enterprise Committee makes numerous damning comments on the proposals including:

1 The Committee is not persuaded that the provisions contained in the Bill allowing such a partnership are necessary or desirable.

2 There is no clarity as to how the proceeds of any sale of a stake in Royal Mail would be used.

3 It is entirely unacceptable that Parliament is being asked to approve such fundamental changes to Royal Mail Group when there is no indication of exactly how much money Royal Mail Group needs for investment and the Government is prevaricating about the use to which any private sector cash would be put.

4 There is a worrying lack of transparency in the Government’s proposals.

and critically that:

5 The Committee does not think the Government has yet made its case, and the Government needs to answer a number of important questions.

Commenting on the report, John Mason said:

“The communities of the East End, and the city as a whole, have demonstrated their support for the Royal Mail and the Post Office time and time again, and the UK Government’s privatisation plans are quite simply an attack on a crucial publicly-owned service.

“It has already been clear that there is huge opposition from employees, customers and from across the political parties. That has been underscored by this influential cross-party committee report, which leaves Lord Mandelson’s plans in pieces.

“It is as plain as day that privatisation would spell the beginning of the end for Royal Mail, and open the door to job losses, service cuts and a deterioration in the working conditions of postal workers.”