MPs voice rural concerns over Royal Mail privatisation moves

Post box An early-day motion has also been supported by the Communications Workers Union

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A cross-party group of MPs has called on the UK Government to guarantee that any moves to privatise Royal Mail would not mean the end of standard postal charges throughout the country.

Royal Mail could be sold off in 2013, prompting fears people in rural and remote areas could end up having to pay more for deliveries.

The company's Universal Service Obligation currently prevents this.

An Early Day Motion, outlining concern, has been signed by 71 MPs.

It has also been supported by the Communications Workers Union.

The SNP's Mike Weir said it would be a disaster if increased competition and efficiencies meant a reduction in the quality of the postal service.

He said: "At present the Royal Mail is under an obligation to deliver mail at the same price in all areas of the UK six days a week.

"These changes would be a disaster for rural areas, and especially rural businesses. A reduction in days could also lead to substantial redundancies within the postal service.

"Scotland needs a first-class mail service for all our communities."

Royal Mail has stressed that the level of provision they provide is backed by law.

Spokeswoman Barbara Roulston said: "Royal Mail is honoured to provide a six day week service at a uniform price across the UK.

"It is enshrined in law. There can be no change to this requirement unless both Houses of Parliament vote for any such change."

The call comes after a recent report published by Citizens Advice Scotland, showing that people living in some remote and rural areas of Scotland are paying extra money to have goods bought online delivered to their homes.

It also said some courier companies were refusing to deliver to certain postcodes.


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  • Comment number 31.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    I'd be more worried if the scaremongering were not coming from the same vested interests, mainly unions and leftist ideologues, who terrified people before BT privatisation with forecasts of reduced access to telephones. A combination of legal requirements and technological advances accelerated by competition ensured the opposite. There's no reason why competent RM privatisation need be different.

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    Privatisation has never resulted in better services than nationalised services. In many cases things have got worse. Email has struck a massive blow to RM but privatising it won't help. It should stay nationalised and re-nationalisation of other sectors (rail, energy etc) is the way forward. At least such services would be run for the benefit of customers and not shareholders.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    The USO should be extended to all postal delivery services, then RM be privatised. But to have "competition" where one company has a pretty onerous obligation - such as the USO - where others do not is a recipe for disaster

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    @21. I can only imagine the situation is even worse in remote areas.

    I live in a semi-remote area. Yes the Royal Mail is clearly understaffed but I cannot recall the last wrong-delivery received nor am I aware of any letters I sent going astray.

    But then I know all the local postman and they know their customers and their rounds.

    Perhaps such problems are more prevalent in cities?

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    #18. "goodness me, it there any way to stop politicians destroying the infrastructure of this country?"

    Stop voiting for them would be an obvious start. None of the parties have the indigenous populations welfare at heart. The Victorian belief that once we could to elect our MP's we would see positive change is quite clearly an illusion.

    Giving them your vote only maintains the status quo.

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    Looking at the astronomical price of 1st class, 2nd class and parcel services to the UK and abroad this Christmas I have come to the conclusion that the Royal Mail is being deliberately priced out of business from within.

    I genuinely don't know where the costs are because I know the local postie gets paid next to nothing.

    Shame. I like what Royal Mail used to represent.

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    Remember the old saying, better service and cheaper prices? Yeah Mags we remember you, you ruined this country!

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    Cost concern over Royal Mail sale

    LOL, too late Ethel.

    Meddlesome Mandelson ensured that by making UK taxpayers responsible for RMs pensions deficit, an EXTRA taxpayer DEBT of around £8billion.
    Even ConDems deceitfully pretend RMs pension has ADDED to government assets. That is a LIE it has INCREASED PENSIONS BLACK HOLE debt by over £8 BILLION.

    Politicians cannot be trusted

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    19 Monotone
    Totally agree, it should be hived off into a seperate company and run as a business but still be state owned. Have all UK households being given one share, any profits should be used to modernise the business first and then returned to the shareholders (us). The utilities should work the same - customers are the shareholders. All staff receive any equal payrise % regardless of rank.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    Privatising it can only improve things. Royal mail's standards have slipped so far over the last 20 years I doubt anyone would even want to buy them. I dont trust them to deliver anything at all. I often get mail thats not mine so I assume my mail also goes elsewhere too. And I live in London, I can only imagine the situation is even worse in remote areas.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    The tories desperately need their own "clause 4 moment." In 1995 Blair created New Labour by ditching a commitment to "common ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange, and the best obtainable system of popular administration and control of each industry or service." Isn't it about time the tories reconsidered their ideological and disastrous obsession with privatisation?

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    The privatisation of Royal Mail should definitely be allowed to proceed, I mean - look at the success of previous privatisations and how they've benefited the public: telephones, water, railways, electricity, gas... oh, wait a minute........

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    goodness me, it there any way to stop politicians destroying the infrastructure of this country? Any way to stop them implementing policies that the citizens of this country do not want? It seems that political parties of any and all persuasions are hell bent on this path, no doubt because of their ineptitude at doing the things we actually do want!

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    If Royal Mail is expected to maintain the same six-day service in rural areas, it would help considerably if householders placed a proper lockable mailbox at their gates. I lived up a track half a mile long and, by installing such a mailbox, saved our postie 10 minutes. Some tracks were more than a mile long, deeply rutted, and very damaging to the post vans' suspensions.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    You know what will happen, if solded off it will end up beging in the hands of a non-uk company i.e french & german just like our utility companys like "British Gas (more like french gas), E-ON (German) etc etc and be at the mercy of these companies and the money being shipped elsewhere in europe.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    If anyone honestly believes that we aren't going to get ripped off and there aren't going to be massive job losses then that person is living in la-la land

    (This of course excludes Torys who Lie for a living)

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    Tories. Selling off the silverware so they and their mates can make a killing since time immemorial.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    RlM must first be freed of all regulatory restrictions on pricing to the public and to competing companies they are currently having to deliver mail for them at a loss. The competition must also offer postal services to the wider parts of the UK. The pension scheme needs to be closed to new members and a stakeholder scheme introduced in its place Then RM will be ready for sale.

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    ..."prompting fears people in rural and remote areas could end up having to pay more for deliveries"

    You can be sure that if the privatisation of rail, gas, electric and water is anything to go by we will ALL be paying a lot more for our deliveries.


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