MP hits out at Post Office privatisation plans

26 Feb 2009

Glasgow East MP John Mason has rounded on Business Secretary Lord Mandelson over controversial UK government proposals to sell off part of the Royal Mail Group.

The Labour Government at Westminster is setting out legislation which will allow a private company to buy a 30% stake in the Royal Mail. It is believed that the Westminster Government intends to use the proceeds to plug the 5.9bn shortfall in the Royal Mail pension scheme.

Mr Mason believes that a sell off of even part of Royal Mail puts the Universal Service Order (USO) at serious risk. The USO is the mechanism whereby there is a standard price for posted mail regardless of where it is going from and to.

Speaking about the proposals John Mason said:

“Privatisation of the even part of Royal Mail tears up the public ownership principles under which the organisation operates.

“Royal Mail is unique in the way it can provide a universal service, which is particularly valued in areas where the private sector simply wouldnt be interested in running a postal service of the same standard.

“Royal Mail offers a door-to-door service that is hard to find in other countries and hiving off bits here and there to private business will leave that business model very vulnerable.

“The reason that Royal Mail struggles financially is because the Government have already allowed the private sector to run mail services. Unsurprisingly private business has started operating in the areas that are most profitable leaving Royal Mail to cover the much more challenging rural and remote deliveries.

“These decisions were taken with no regard to the consequences and now the Government are trying to pass the buck to the private sector.

“The SNP will continue to oppose these measures in Westminster and fight to protect the future of our rural postal services.”