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In the intervening period, a balance must be struck by Ofcom ensuring that Royal Mail does not provide an unfair subsidy to other access operatorsa point regularly and rightly made by my noble friend Lord Clarkewhile ensuring that that inefficient costs are not locked in for the long-term, as both outcomes would damage Royal Mail's ability to provide the universal service. Howeverthe brief cold comfortthe noble Lord, Lord Hunt, has raised some interesting points with which I have some sympathy and the Government will take them away and give them further thought. I hope that in the light of those explanations, the noble Lord will not press his amendments.
Lord Clarke of Hampstead: My noble friend may not have the answer to his fingertips, but he just made a comment that is often bandied around: that the Royal Mail has not modernised as quickly as other European postal administrations. Between now and when we meet again, could he get some evidence of that, because it causes a lot of concern? What modernisation is he talking about? What machines is he talking about and how much do they cost? I asked those questions in the Second Reading debate. I do not expect an answer tonight, but I hope that before we meet again to discuss the subject, we will get some information on that.
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