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Friday 13 May 2011


Business, Innovation and Skills

Privatisation of the Royal Mail

The Petition of Staff and customers of Post Offices in Newcastle-upon-Tyne North constituency,

Declares that the petitioners are concerned about the proposed full privatisation of the Royal Mail and its impact upon on the number of Post Offices in Newcastle.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills to reconsider the proposals contained within the Postal Services Bill to privatise the Royal Mail; to ensure the longest possible Inter-Business Agreement between Royal Mail and Post Office Limited; and to specify in law a minimum number of counter services for access to Royal Mail services.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Catherine McKinnell , Official Report, 26 April 2011; Vol. 527, c. 1P.]


Observations from the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills:

The Government are committed to securing the long-term future of the Royal Mail and the Post Office and to preserving the universal postal service for everyone in the UK. These twin objectives are at the heart of the Postal Services Bill.

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Furthermore, the Post Office is not for sale and will remain in public ownership, although there is the possibility for the Post Office to move to a mutual ownership structure, run for the public benefit, in due course.

The Government acknowledge the importance of the relationship between Royal Mail and Post Office Ltd. There is an overwhelming commercial imperative for the two to work together. The companies are reliant on one another, and there already is a long-term contract in place between Royal Mail and the Post Office.

In giving evidence to the Public Bill Committee in the House of Commons, the management of both Royal Mail and the Post Office committed to signing the longest legally permissible contract between the two companies, prior to separation. The Government will ensure they honour that commitment.

In addition to this very clear assurance, this Government are committed to the Post Office’s sustainable future. There will be no repeat of the closure programmes of the previous Government. At the spending review in October, £1.34 billion of funding was announced to modernise the network and safeguard its future, making it a stronger partner for Royal Mail. In return, the Post Office is committed to ensuring a network of around 11,500 branches over the course of the spending review period, and to maintaining the access criteria that ensure that 99% of the national population lives within three miles of a post office.

The Government believe that the full range of access criteria in place, taken together with the commitment to maintaining a national network of around 11,500 branches, obviate any need for a minimum number of counters for access to Royal Mail services to be enshrined in law.