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Semi-private Royal Mail?

Robert Peston | 21:57 UK time, Wednesday, 14 May 2008

The Postal Regulator is calling for Royal Mail to be partly privatised.

Postal workers sorting mailPostcomm is making the highly contentious proposal - which could lead to Royal Mail being owned in part by a private-equity firm - to an independent review on the future of postal services that has been set up by the government.

It says that Royal Mail's financial difficulties are likely to worsen considerably, without the injection of private-sector capital and management expertise into the state-owned business.

Nigel Stapleton, the chairman of Postcomm, has warned in an interivew with me that in the absence of part-privatisation the government may be required to inject a big new subsidy into Royal Mail, which it won't wish to do.

The risk of not bringing in the private sector or a subsidy would be a significant deterioration in the quality of Royal Mail's service under its obligation to deliver letters to and from anywhere in the UK at a uniform tariff, he said.

Only last week Royal Mail announced that it had made a loss on providing this so-called universal service for the first time. Royal Mail estimated that the loss for the last financial year on this its core activity was £100m.

The government will find it hard to dismiss the suggestion out of hand, especially since analysts believe the independent review led by Richard Hooper is expected to come to the same conclusion.

However the Prime Minister is likely to be irked that such a divisive issue is being forced back on to his agenda.

Privatisation in any form, whole or part, is strongly opposed by the CWU, the main postal workers' union - which is also a leading funder of the Labour Party.

The CWU's opposition is shared by many Labour MPs.

Their consistent opposition has always deterred the government in the past from embracing whole or partial privatisation - even though Gordon Brown has told colleagues that he is sympathetic to the idea that Royal Mail could be sharpened up by private-sector capital and expertise.

However the government only has itself to blame that part-privatisation is back in its in-tray - because when ministers set up the Hooper review of postal services, they were well aware that PostComm was bound to make the recommendation

There are uncanny echoes of the early 1990s in Postcomm's call for part-privatisation.

The then Prime Minister, John Major, was widely seen to be on the ropes, as Gordon Brown is perceived to be today.

And an attempt by his ministerial colleague, Michael Heseltine, to privatise the postal service was ditched after opposition from backbench Tory MPs.

Postcomm is proposing that Post Offices Ltd, which controls the huge network of post offices, should be separated from Royal Mail and kept wholly in public ownership, because it already receives a substantial subsidy and is viewed as a de facto social service.

Its model for what should happen to Royal Mail is the part-privatisation of the Danish postal service, Post Danmark.

In July 2005, the leading UK private-equity firm, CVC, bought a 22% stake in Post Danmark from the Danish state. CVC and Post Danmark then bought a big stake in the Belgian post office in 2006. And this year Post Danmark announced a merger with Posten, the Swedish post office.

Mr Stapleton told me that CVC has played an important role in modernising these postal services. He believes the likes of CVC could play a similar role for the Royal Mail,

However, private-equity firms are mistrusted by many trade unionists and Labour MPs. They see private-equity firms as over-rewarded investors who are excessively ruthless in the way they reduce costs and overheads in the businesses they acquire.

Mr Stapleton tried not to criticise the current management of Royal Mail. He said that it was immensely difficult to run Royal Mail successfully given the pressure on the letters market from emails and digital technology and also the huge financial burden of a multi-billion pound deficit in its pension fund.

But Postcomm's submission does not flatter Royal Mail. It says that in April 2008 Royal Mail provided Postcomm with its projected profits and cash flows for 2006-10. These showed that Royal Mail's cumulative cash flows would be £2.6bn lower than it had expected in late 2005.

Postcomm says that "in part this difference is due to lower than expected mail volumes" but a"greater impact is that of lower efficiency and the payment of significant bonuses to staff".

The regulator says that Royal Mail has failed to make some £1bn of promised efficiency savings, but has still shelled out £600m to staff in productivity bonuses.

A further £300m of savings is failing to materialise because of "compensation for falling short of licenced quality of service standards" and £700m has gone AWOL because of unexpectedly lower volumes of business.

Postcomm believes that part-privatisation would provide the cleanest solution to Royal Mail's pension problems, in that it would allow the government to take over total direct responsibility for the fund without breaching European state-aid rules.


  • Comment number 1.

    Oh good.

    With the changes in recent years we've gone from a punctual morning postal delivery before 9am to a daily postal delivery.... sometime during the day (often not till the mid afternoon).

    Sending a letter with a 1st class stamp has gone from next day to 1-3 days and with a 2nd class stamp from 1-2 days to anything from 1 day to a week+.

    We've also now only got single pick ups from most post boxes and pretty much every post office you can think of is closing down (or doesn't do the things you actually want them to do any more).

    I just can't wait to see how these new ideas "improve" the postal service further.

  • Comment number 2.

    Why are so many trees cut down to send me junk mail? I am never going to be positively influenced by such waste and indeed I am always prejudiced against the sender.

    Do I really need daily postal deliveries in this electronic age? Keep daily collections, but cut deliveries to (say) twice a week - this would cut delivery costs by two thirds and of course it is absolutely essential to ban postal junk mail - I just wish my letter box was as good at filtering my post as my junk email filter!

    Do these things and even the Royal Mail might make money - and the staff could be well remunerated!

  • Comment number 3.

    The problem with Royal Mail is that it needs to change.However any change will be too.
    fast for many of its workforce and far too slow for many of its customers. Bit like the National Coal Board and British Leyland.
    Of course the real action is to come in local government when the Tories realise just how many useless mouths there are.

  • Comment number 4.

    I think that your piece was very interesting - BUT you have missed the point. B y seperating The Royal Mail ( or GPO as it used to be called) the Post office has put up smokescreens to hide their appalling performance. Indeed IT HAS ALREADY Been privatised. In my town they have closed the Main Post office - £20+ million site and sold the profitable franchise to WH Smith. If it is not profitable they close them. So although we still are luckyenough to Have a post office - WH Smith make the profit. So it has been privitised.

  • Comment number 5.

    I don't see why something has to be privatised to make it work. Just hire the right people to manage it. You have to wonder who is going to make tons of money out of this and it won't be Joe Public.

    PS in the states its one price for a stamp - the 1st class/2nd class joke is not an issue here.

  • Comment number 6.

    The suggestion of removing VAT from the Royal Mail will only make stamps more expensive for customers!

    Yes, Royal Mail has problems that need solving but privatising it won't work. We should learn from the example of the railways; privatising them didn't fix them, it just shifted blame from one place to another. The only way out of this mess is undoing the 'liberalisation' and making some serious investment.

  • Comment number 7.

    What is the most shocking fact is that it would have been ovious to the government and postcomm that by allowing competition in the competitive bulk mail market it would lead to a loss for Royal Mail as its universal service has always been held up by its other profitable ventures.
    Either the government must stop such competition or levy a 'non universal' fee on the other companies to make up for the losses that the Royal Mail make on providing its universal service.
    While the Royal Mail needs to be modernised it shouldn't be at the expense of any further cuts in service to its customers. Part privatisation would damage not only the Royal Mail but its universal service as they would seek to exit such an agreement if its rivals don't have to provide a universal service or help pay for it.

  • Comment number 8.

    I echo the sentiments expressed by 'mightyfop' (10.14 pm) and have also noticed over the past couple of years that latest collection times have been getting earlier in the afternoons from many post boxes.

    The decline in the services being provided by Royal Mail in recent years has done great damage to its reputation and it has been the ordinary taxpayers and householders who have lost out.

    In an age when improved public services and longer opening hours, more customer friendly services, etc, are supposed to be promoted we have Royal Mail which seems to be trying to drive itself out of business!

    The benefits of competition could have been more effectively realised if the Government and Postcomm (another non accountable semi autonomous government body?) had insisted that any entrants to the mail market should have been allowed so long as they competed on an equal basis with Royal Mail, e.g. daily univeral nationwide collections and deliveries of all sizes of postal items, and not let them 'cherry pick' the lucrative parts of the postal business in order to undermine Royal Mail.

  • Comment number 9.


    With a pension fund exposure of £5 Billion, guaranteed operations losses and a unionised industry, a buyer is going to be hard to find.

    Let it go to the wall. We live in an electronic world for communication and package delivery company's are already better than Royal Mail.

    Just imagine no junk mail, no losers there.

  • Comment number 10.

    Oh goody, another round of improvements.

    First they improved the service by abolishing the second daily delivery.

    Then they improved the service by making it later in the day, arriving after I leave for work.

    Next the improved the service at our local post office by closing early on Saturdays.

    I wonder what will be improved next - perhaps abolishing home deliveries completely? Think of the money they could save.

  • Comment number 11.

    While private partnership is the way forward, I believe it should be done in an organic manner - Outsource parts of the process, especially some of the least productive segments of the organisation. This could also help in reducing staff costs.

  • Comment number 12.

    Whoever dreamt this up should be posted overseas.

  • Comment number 13.

    I think Postcomms's suggestion deserves serious consideration. As it's the postal regulator I'm assuming it is taking into account the interests of Royal Mail's social and business customers here, and that it's research tells it that Royal Mail's operation is not sustainable in its current form.

    Is the Government really going to make the necessary investment available when it is ploughing money into other areas such as the 10p tax issue?

  • Comment number 14.

    People often forget that the Royal Mail is ALREADY a private company, it is just the case that the Government owns 100% of the shares.
    This Government has whittled away at the services that Post Offices were allowed to offer. That obviously affects revenue and profitability.
    The management decided that POs could not get involved with certain business possibilities. That limits the scope at a local level.
    Royal Mail is restricted in its pricing approach to business post - which is a massive area.
    But Royal Mail is obliged to deliver the most expensive "last mile" (i.e. to the customer's door), on behalf of TNT Post and others.
    Why aren't POs allowed to sell TNT or other suppliers' service offerings, where they best meet the local customer's requirement?
    That would add opportunities.
    There is no doubt that electronic communication will continue to eat away at "letters". But you can't send a pair of gloves for Grannie's birthday through e-mail and similar small items are very expensive to ship if you have to use a full "courier" service...
    Royal Mail should require a given set of services from Post Offices, but not impose restrictions on other services they choose to offer.

  • Comment number 15.

    This regulator accompanied by this government has ruined the Post Office.

    Now they want to sell the wreck off to some private equity outfit.

    Who on earth would want to buy into an organisation which has already been stripped of its profitable parts?

    I think it is time to privatise the regulator and see how the markets assess his value.

  • Comment number 16.

    The regulator has created very rigid price control mechanism for royal mail which stops it lowering its prices to win back work. A national newspaper illustrates this point perfectly. “For example, as the rules stand, if Royal Mail agrees with Busybank to reduce margins on business deliveries, it's obliged by Postcomm to offer the same margin reduction to all other postal companies that use Royal Mail's network for fulfilment of their rival services.”

    “As a result, their costs automatically go down, and they can go back to Busybank with an even better offer to trump Royal Mail's. The upshot is that no matter how lean and mean Royal Mail becomes, it will by default make its competitors even more efficient. Its disadvantage is structural; it cannot win.”

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    Intrinsically, I have no problem with this. But they must never use the title "Royal Mail" if it is no longer a "crown corporation". The term Royal" is associated with the state/kingdom/ government (whatever they call it), not some private concern held by individuals.

    So we need a new name for this setup... may I suggest Consignia?

  • Comment number 19.

    The only reason to 'privatise' is to get someone other than the Govt to do what is necessary.


    Just like wood was replaced by coal and coal by oil and gas so the movement of information needs to change whether the workers like it or not.

    A govt with vision would do the necessary.

    Who sais he was doing the 'right thing for the long term?'

    Yea toxic bean.

    Come on Robert you caused the first run on a bank for over a 100 years - surely a run on a Govt is within your grasp?

  • Comment number 20.

    We are now going headlong from the sublime to the ridiculous.

    The fact is that the day to day postal delivery service is not and cannot ever be profitable. It was sustained by the Post Office being able to subsidize this through its other more profitable services.

    The reason they are therefore in this mess is precisely because of privatisation and not in spite of it, i.e. all their profitable services have been hived off in the so-called 'interests' of competition. If PostComm want to solve the problem then it is very simple. Give them back the monopoly to sell stamps, pay TV licences, utility bills, deliver parcels and so forth.

    It is tempting to blame Brown and New Labour for all this mess, but to be fair, this is due to poor legislation by successive governments since Thatcher.

    Can nobody understand that deregulation has been an unmitigated disaster?

    The good times are all but a distant memory...

  • Comment number 21.

    The biggest issue here is postcomm hate for royal mail, 1 year ago RM anounced best ever quality results and postcomm still bashed them.

    Also postcomm price regulates RM which means they can't compete with DHL etc who cut deals with large bulk posters.

    so the only people winning from this are the big banks etc, the 50 biggest posters make up 40% of the whole market and they have seem massive savings.

    Who's losing out , well everyone else, the staff, the customer, small business.

    the mail need to be a service, and run as such not a profit only company and screw everything else, indeed before this regulater got involved RM's profits went straght back to the treasury and accounted for millions each year. These profits should have been used to invest in the company to increase productivity and tech levels, because at the moment its a joke Rm are using 50 year old german sorting machines an 30 year old japanise machine, and 25 year old french ones

  • Comment number 22.

    Royal Mail and PostCom are hell bent on privatising the mail service. Money is being wasted on a colossal rate to present a false image of the state of the company. Management levels are at an all time high despite supposedly being cut back, money is being RE-PAID back to the pension fund etc. All that needs to be done is the scrapping of Saturday deliveries, all competion only provides a premium Sat delivery! The contract on delivery standards is up in 2 yrs or so, by then Royal Mail will be private and the savings on doing away with Sat deliveries will go 100% into the share holders pockets. Nobody will miss bills and junk mail on a Sat?? End it now and give Royal Mail and the universal delivery a chance!!!!

  • Comment number 23.

    How dare this "regulator" propose privatisation of a public service !
    Who does he think he is ?
    Who, amongst ordinary folk, is asking for privatisation of our postal services ?
    Most of us think that enough damage has been done already !

  • Comment number 24.

    Since all of the private postal companies still use the Royal Mail to make the final delivery of the householders, surely all that needs to be done is for the Royal Mail to charge the private postal companies more for providing this universal service? Hey presto the loss disappears - the private postal companies might not like it but shey have to appreciate they have to pay for the cost of the service that is being provided to them.

  • Comment number 25.

    The fall in quality of the postal service is annoying, but then again I hardly ever receive anything important by mail any more.

    For any documents it's much more efficient to use email attachments, which can reach the sender in any country within seconds.

    The only important documents I receive by mail tend to be to do with tax or occasional premium bond cheques, all of which could be sent by email if the government would use that medium.

    Parcels are a different matter of course, but they don't require a postman to deliver them daily. I would like to see private companies offer a service that would effect delivery between 6 and 12 pm 7 days a week, thereby avoiding the need to traipse around to some depot to pick stuff up that cannot be put through your letterbox.

    I realise that not everyone has a computer, but would not the current government subsidies be better spent on providing a grant to allow all households to have an internet connection and basic PC with scanner?

  • Comment number 26.

    to kenfayers

    unfortunatly the regulator controls how much RM charges these companys, but the big companys seems to be the only thing he cares about. O and by the way there budget when up massely 2 years ago, u don't here him saying anything about that do u.

  • Comment number 27.

    Dear Robert

    The best thing Privatise the entier business, it needs to come out of the "victorian and unionistic age" its a relic of the 50s, and whats more its even worse now, than then.
    Too costly, too much for a stamp, too much subsidy, and too little service.
    AND for only ONe Delvery a day.its going backwards all the time.

  • Comment number 28.

    Royal Mail Letters do not get any subsidy

    Post Office counters do get subsidy

    Postcomm wish to privatise Royal Mail Letters but keep Post Office Counters fully public with continuing subsidy from Government.

    Royal Mail currently has a massive loan from the government at commercial rates of interest and has to pay the loan back over a five year period.

    Please can we stop all the waffle about subsidy!!!!

  • Comment number 29.

    Dear Robert
    There is a huge scandal of a pension Bloc, forming, the hidden "MAXWELL " legacy and final salary pension schemes are pottering on the edge.
    this will be the next finacial crisis.

  • Comment number 30.

    Your final paragraph is the key, the pension scheme is a multi million pound long term liability and it is a problem for responsible management.

    Trade unions and Labour MPs know venture capitalists exploit insolvency laws to avoid pensions liability -and then having lumbered the taxpayer with massive costs claim the kudos for massive profits and turning round the company.

    I indirectly provided information for the GMB when Apax and Sir Ronald Cohen -a major supporter of Gordon Brown- left BUSM employees totally dependent on the long suffering taxpayer.

    They say 21 insolvent companies formerly owned by Venture capitalists require taxpayer funding for around £1.99 billion.

    HMG should take responsibility for the pension fund and cut out the middle man.

  • Comment number 31.

    One delivery a day is not a inferior service.

    RM simply have got the mail through the network quicker which is why they are doing away with night shifts in delivery offices and just having nights in mail centres were the machinery is located .

    A 1st class letter is still supposed to reach you the next day after collection (sundays excluded)

  • Comment number 32.

    Rule number 1 when you find you're in a hole: stop digging.

    Privatisations have never benefited public services, and I can't work out how they could ever have been meant to. 'National' Rail? Maintenance on the London tube system? Nightmares.

    The Post Office provided an excellent service until it was "opened up to competiton". There wasn't any real competition, just private firms cherry-picking all the lucrative operations that previously, and very efficiently, subsidised a national service.

    I once thought a Labour government would reverse these Tory policies -- not necessarily on principle, just because privatisation is such a waste of public money, proved again and again.

    Please, for God's sake Gordon, stop digging.

  • Comment number 33.

    Whoever said that a Public Service has to make a profit?. Look at the unmitigated disaster rail privatisation ( with the profit motive built in) has proved to be - at least for the traveller . And the same can be said of buses . A totally fragmented public transport system is this country's sad legacy from the last two administrations . The argument that money could only be raised for improvement by selling shares or being a private company and going to the money market is complete twaddle. It would have required a minimum of legislation to enable nationally owned concerns to raise money via the city enabling future investment to take place. This would have however prevented a feeding frenzy by the money men.The fact that these concerns are quoted as being essential to pension funds ( most of which don't deliver what they have promised to the poor punter) indicates the paucity of the government's pension policies.
    So - if they are to privatise openly the Mail service - then I hope they charge at least £1 per item delivery charge to non- Royal Mail services for that 'last mile'.

  • Comment number 34.

    People sometimes forget the old adage :

    You get what you pay for.

    For the Royal Mail to remain Public and offer a level of service we might like, th eprice of stamps will have to rise.

    By how much they need to rise by would depend.

    One thing is for sure a Private royal Mail will have to make a profit in order to pay its owners.

    This will either reduce services, or raise prices higher than if it is kept Public.

    The hangover of Thatcherism is alive and well !

    But al least we aren't talking about the Banks.

    They seem to be deliberately pushing down their own Share prices by very poor Investor Relations.

    But maybe they want their Share prices lower, who can tell in our murky world of Private Equity and Hedge Funds?

  • Comment number 35.

    Every time we privatise any thing at all the fat cats move in and cherry pick the remains of the dead parrot an the public loses out.

    It is obvious that no company can do better than the Royal Mail, and as rate payers we are entitled to at least one service from our runnaway tax system, we continue to pay more and more and we receive less and less for our money.

    No company on earth can collect and deliver mail at the ridiculously low charges in force, and yet we do hear people complaing that the charges are too much.

    The charges are only reaonable because it is a subsidied service, as it should be.

    The modern method of using private companies for parcels works very well, but when it comes to the letter service, no one can ever take the job on without being able make a greatly increased charge.

    Unless the mail is processed electronically, and delivered as the telegrams were it just can not be an economical proposition.

    The P.M. is listening, but he does need a bit of help from the public, if it is only to remove some of the knives out of his back.

  • Comment number 36.

    people need to understand the real issue here. The Labour government made a pledge in the manifesto for Royal Mail to stay in the public sector. This Government was quick to liberlise the postal Service. The rest of europe didn't follow suit as quick and a number of countries are stalling. This government have done things in a backward manor. Surely it would have been more pheasable to delay liberlisation, use the £1.2 billion as an investment, instead of a loan at business rates and prepare Royal Mail for the onset of competition so they can operate on a level playing field. The powers that be have the clout to suspend the regulator until the modernisation currently going through at Royal Mail is completed. The competition is currently receiving an easy ride with cheap access rates and are not under the control of the regulator. Also, Royal Mail postmen are constantly blamed for the incompetence of the competition. i.e items left on the doorstep

  • Comment number 37.

    I just wonder whose pockets it would benefit if Royal Mail were to be privatised?

  • Comment number 38.

    Surely, the first step to decide what it is that we (all of us not just "big business") wish the Royal Mail to achieve.

    If the universal service delivery offering is desirable (and I can't believe any thoughtful citizen would wish otherwise) then the "profit" on city centre deliveries MUST subsidise those to less accessible locations.

    However, any commercial enterprise would be bound to seek to lessen its obligations and, given the success of lobbying activities with this and every Government, would succeed. Universal service would end.

    Therefore one must conclude that a nationally-owned Royal Mail efficiently run and NOT raided by the Treasury every time it makes even a tiny profit is the only long-term direction.

    Reward The Royal Mail directors and staff for their success. Get rid of the cherry-pickers or tell them to recruit, pay and motivate their own deliverers and insist they too provide a univeral service.

  • Comment number 39.

    The fact that we are in this position with post offices being closed is a total disgrace . Our postal service is a national resource needed by everybody from pensioners in remote areas to big business in big cities . There is no way on earth this should be viewed as a profit centre to stand on it's own feet . We cannot allow the goons in government and those who run Post Office (Limited?) to allow this great institution to be wrecked . What are they thinking about ?

  • Comment number 40.

    The issue is surprisingly simple. Competition has been allowed into the Postal sector and the effect has been catastrophic. TNT and the like have targeted the bulk mail sector and s a consequence reduced Royal mails revenue by millions.

    The effect of this will be that Royal mail will not be in a position to provide a daily delivery to every address in the UK as is does at the moment. This will have a critical effect on the economy of the country as there is still a reliance on the mail service from the business community.

    The competition can cream off the revenue generating parts of the sector without the shackles of having to provide a universal service. It is like Man United playing in the cup final but being told that they are not allowed to score until Chelsea are 10 goals up. In addition to this every goal that Chelsea score Man U have to take a player off.

    Privatisation will not deliver the universal service this is merely a desperate attempt from the Regulator to fix a problem which all of us who work in the industry knew would be the result of their actions.

    The answer is to allow Royal Mail to continue with its modernisation plan - continue to improve efficiency and remove the other operators from the sector.

    Nobody can deliver a daily service to every address in the country (without massively increasing prices) whilst the privateers are creaming off the revenue making elements of the business.

    You are witnessing the beginning of the end of the daily delivery in the UK.

  • Comment number 41.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but many years ago, the Post Office/Royal Mail wanted to bring in new working practices which while perhaps reducing some staff, would have prepared the bulk of the organisation for the market there is today.

    However, the CWU would not budge an inch.

    Since a certain Mr Johnson was then in charge of the union, and is currently sponsored by the union, perhaps he could enlighten everyone as to the reasons against change?

  • Comment number 42.

    There are certain fundamental services which should be provided by the Government, ie Nationalised. These are Electricity, Gas, Coal, Water, Sewage, Rubbish Disposal, Public Transport and The Postal Service. Once these are handed over to private contractors they cease to be a service and become a financial tool. Hence we have our electricity and gas being controlled by foreign companies.
    Last week's episode of Midsomer Murders had the postal service to Midsomer Holme being delivered by "Express Mail -- The UK's Postal Service". Did the writers know something we don't?

  • Comment number 43.

    We were the first to open the poatal market in the EU. Germany opened the market this year but they legislated a minimum wages for all postal workers, so the competitors can not come into the market. Can you tell me which another country has the full postal competition like we have in the UK market? I blame our Government in opening the market while allowing other EU countries to carry on with the state monopoly and allowing some of the EU Companies to raid our postal market.

  • Comment number 44.

    A recent government report stated that there had been no benefit to consumers from the introduction of private mail services. Of course what it did not state was that the private mail services have severely damaged the Post Office by creaming off all the most profitable business. Well sling them all out and go back to the Post Office having a monopoly. I live in a small village and find that many private mail services cannot even find my house, that is no service at all!

  • Comment number 45.

    I find it hard to, believe that people still think that selling off the post office is the answer.
    Selling of the Railway i.e railtrack included, has cost the tax payer billions over the last 15 years.
    Royal mail is a fantastic service and should of been left alone. The people that Have done damage to it is Post comm and the regulator. They have set out to sell off Royal mail from day one. They have not aloud it to compete with the cherry pickers Tnt, uk mail and DhL.
    So in the end Royal mail have to do the hard bit by delivering it. And so up go the charges.
    What people fail to understand is this once fine country is being sold off.
    In the lines of a famous song"you don't Know what you got till it is gone."

  • Comment number 46.

    I agree with the comments of the previous blogger.

    I run a business from home and I have noticed that my post was arriving later and later. When I recently spoke to the new Postman he informed me at 12 noon that it would be getting even later! Yesterday the post arrived at 1.00pm which, when running a business, is unacceptable.

    Today I phoned Royal Mail to complain, only to be told that I can't complain because they are not under any duty to provide post prior to 2.00pm! If post does arrive later, then I can complain!

    The alternative is to pay for post to be delivered earlier. Why should I have to pay for this additional service when it should be done automatically?

    I said to the lady to whom I was speaking that I would look to take my business elswhere, e.g. Business Post, and she said that she was sorry to hear that but could do nothing further!

    Is there any wonder why Royal Mail is going down the pan if this is how they treat their customers?

    Equity companies beware ... you may be throwing good money after bad!

  • Comment number 47.

    We don't have to put up with it. I won't buy online if the company uses a private delivery service.

    That's not just on principle but because the private companies are rubbish if you don't happen to be at home when they make their one attempt at delivery. As I refuse to trek off to some TNT office miles away, I've spent literally hours on the phone trying to get a parcel redelivered.

    I occasionally get work-related deliveries, and if I know in advance, I let people know I won't go to collect a parcel. If it isn't delivered to me, I count it as not sent.

  • Comment number 48.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 49.

    To busy to say much, all I can say is we need to shrink our money supply and accept the squeeze if we want a happy future. See my thoughts on redbubble.


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