Government is not a good owner

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The Halifax Courier recently published an article regarding the privatisation of Royal Mail.

Your readers may be interested to understand what the recent announcement by the UK Government on the privatisation of Royal Mail means for our customers, our business and our people. The UK Government has acknowledged it is not a good owner of large businesses. Private ownership will enable Royal Mail to become more flexible and fleet of foot in the fiercely competitive markets in which we operate. We will also have long-term access to capital when we need it. The Government has made clear it doesn’t have the money to allocate to Royal Mail ahead of schools and hospitals.

We aim to combine the best of the public and private sectors.

The six-day-a-week, one-price-goes-anywhere, affordable Universal Service will remain unchanged. It is protected by law – enshrined in the Postal Services Act 2011. Any change would have to be passed through an affirmative vote in both Houses of Parliament.

The Quality of Service regime that applies to Royal Mail under public ownership will continue to apply under private ownership. Ofcom has already specified the minimum standards under regulation. Royal Mail will continue to offer good value for money. UK stamp prices are among the best value in the EU. Our people are at the heart of Royal Mail. The current position is that all terms and conditions that apply now to Royal Mail employees would remain in place, on the same basis, were the company to be sold. To provide further reassurance, we will create a legally-binding and enforceable contract with the CWU. Pay and protections could not be changed for the period of the contract without CWU agreement. Approximately 150,000 eligible UK employees will receive free shares giving them a ten per cent stake in the business. This is the largest free stake than in any other major UK privatisation for almost 30 years. Many previously Government-owned companies – like Rolls Royce and British Airways - have flourished under private ownership. We believe privatisation will equip Royal Mail for similar success.

Gary Milne

Royal Mail Delivery Director

Leodis House

Leeds