Community Postal Services

[back to previous text]

Mr. Connarty: I am interested in my hon. Friend's comprehensive reply. The problem that seems to plague BT is the constant pressure of the regulator to allow cherry-picking of the best services. We have a universal postal service. Is my hon. Friend confident that the regulator's remit and the dialogue with the regulator will protect that for the Post Office as liberalisation sweeps across Europe?

Mr. Johnson: I am; for two reasons. I will not get into the comparison with the telecommunications service, other than to say that it never had a uniform tariff, apart from long-distance call rates. It had a universal service but not a uniform tariff. The postal service is unique because it has both. The regulator—unlike Oftel, whose primary task is to encourage competition—has been given the primary task of protecting universal service at a uniform tariff. I am pleased about that, coming as I do from a city that has its own telecommunications company, Kingston Communications. That is an important differentiation.

We have had a thorough debate of the issues and I welcome the views of hon. Members. We hope that we will reach a resolution this year.

12.19 pm

Question put and agreed to.


    That the Committee takes note of European Union Document No. 10544/00, and welcomes it as a useful framework for the future liberalisation of the postal services sector in the European Union provided appropriate safeguards are in place to maintain the universal postal service at a uniform tariff.

        Committee rose at nineteen minutes past Twelve o'clock.

The following Members attended the Committee:
Amess, Mr. David (Chairman)
Darvill, Mr.
Henderson, Mr. Ivan
Hesford, Mr.
Loughton, Mr.
McIntosh, Miss
Smith, Miss Geraldine
Wright, Mr. Anthony D.

The following also attended, pursuant to Standing Order No. 119(5):

Connarty, Mr. Michael (Falkirk, East)

Cotter, Mr. Brian (Weston-super-Mare)

Drew, Mr. David (Stroud)

Flint, Caroline (Don Valley)

Heath, Mr. David (Somerton and Frome)

Johnson, Mr. Alan (The Minister for Competitiveness)

Lewis, Mr. Ivan (Bury, South)

McNulty, Mr. Tony (Harrow, East)

Page, Mr. Richard (South-West Hertfordshire)

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