23 Jan 2011

Royal Mail sell-off is a mistake

So MPs have now approved the sell-off of Royal Mail, with government majority of 81 - see BBC report here. This could mean 90% of it under foreigh ownership - it will also dramatically weaken the Post Office network. This move really makes no sense - as Green MP, Caroline Lucas said it is a wasted opportunity.

Photo: electric post bike in Norway

Caroline co-sponsored a cross-party amendment calling on the Government to ensure the existing inter-business agreement between the Post Office and Royal Mail for ten years in the event of the latter's privatisation - but this was voted down.

After the vote Caroline said: "Today's vote on the Postal Services Bill signals the end of the Post Office network as we know it. Without any assurance that the privatised Royal Mail will use the Post Office for business, the future of Post Offices up and down the country are plunged into ever more serious doubt. This was a real wasted opportunity. The Bill could have been instrumental in creating a formal relationship, for example, between Post Offices and credit unions - to increase awareness of and access to affordable credit. Instead, these reckless plans threaten the local Post Offices which many older people, families and vulnerable people within communities, not to mention small businesses, use for making contact with others, filling out Government forms and accessing key services."

The Communications Workers Union has said over 1,000 UK Post Offices were either closed or put up for sale in 2010. Of course this Government are only going where the last one started - former business secretary Peter Mandelson's efforts and the Labour Government really
got the ball rolling on postal liberalisation.

As the Greens Rodborough candidate said in the local paper this week: "The Greens are the only party to consistently fight against postal privatisation at every level." See his here letter.

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