Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

In the intervening period, a balance must be struck by Ofcom ensuring that Royal Mail does not provide an unfair subsidy to other access operators—a point regularly and rightly made by my noble friend Lord Clarke—while 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. However—the brief cold comfort—the 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.

Lord Carter of Barnes: I most certainly will.

Lord Hunt of Wirral: In the light of the assurance that the Minister has given me, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment 88D withdrawn.

Amendment 88E not moved.

Clause 34 agreed.

Schedule 3 agreed.

Clause 35 : USP accounting conditions

Amendment 89 not moved.

Clause 35 agreed.

House resumed.

House adjourned at 10.04 pm.

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page