Ritchie opposes privatisation of Royal Mail

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Thursday, July 18th, 2013
SDLP MP for South Down Margaret Ritchie has joined the campaign to oppose the privatisation of Royal Mail. Speaking after meeting with the “Save Our Royal Mail” Campaign Group in Westminster this week, the MP for South Down said, “The SDLP opposes the privatisation of Royal Mail. “We believe the surest way to guarantee the universal postal service obligation in its current form is for Royal Mail to remain publicly owned. Royal Mail is a successful, thriving, public sector enterprise. “It faces ever increasing competition for letter and parcel collection and delivery services, particularly in urban areas. However, uniquely it must deliver to all addresses 6 days a week. “This is a significant obligation but a vital part of our economy, particularly in rural areas where there is little or no competition for postal services. Royal Mail will face continued competitive pressure and will be required to return dividends to shareholders,” Ritchie said. “The 2011 Postal Services Act requires the regulator Ofcom to ensure the universal service is financially sustainable. We believe that a privately owned Royal Mail will soon want to divest itself of the cost of delivery of the universal postal service either through subsidy or some other restructuring of the universal service. “Most logically the regulator will want to seek Parliamentary approval to reduce the requirements of the universal service as a way of reducing its cost. Aligned to this is the real concern about the future of pricing of Royal Mail services. Most classes of post are now unregulated. Ritchie added, “In the public sector we have witnessed significant price increases to the first class stamp and small packets and parcels. Particular user groups such as small businesses and the elderly are the most vulnerable to large price increases. “Again we believe that the best way to ensure price rises do not penalise users is for the business to remain publicly owned.”
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