Postal Services Bill

Part of Planning (Developer Bonds) – in the House of Commons at 2:05 pm on 27th October 2010.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Vincent Cable Vincent Cable The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills 2:05 pm, 27th October 2010

I shall take further interventions later but I want to proceed with the next step of the argument.

Let me dwell a little on Royal Mail's financial problems. When I came into government I was left in no doubt as to the real difficulties. I asked Richard Hooper to update his report from December 2008 because I wanted to ensure that the conclusions were still valid-and they are. Let no one in the House be under any illusion regarding Royal Mail's predicament. I recognise that there has been some progress. Opposition Members who represent areas with sorting offices will know that unions and management are now working together better-we acknowledge that-but that the pension deficit has ballooned. It is now more than £8 billion and Royal Mail has, proportionately, the largest pension deficit of any major company in the United Kingdom. In addition, it loses almost £1 million a day on its trading activity. It is an inefficient business in a market that is declining faster than anyone predicted. Hooper now forecasts that letter volumes could fall by as much as 40% in the next five years if nothing is done. That is why we are moving further and faster.