Postal Services Bill

Part of Planning (Developer Bonds) – in the House of Commons at 3:30 pm on 27th October 2010.

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Photo of Brian Binley Brian Binley Conservative, Northampton South 3:30 pm, 27th October 2010

My hon. Friend was a wise prophet in a House that failed to listen to him, and that is a great pity. I accept his point totally.

The truth is that something needs to be done, and that was accepted by the previous Government. I first came across this matter when it was presented to the then Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Select Committee in 2008. That Committee's report highlighted the importance of the organisation to our local communities. It recognised that the poor, the elderly and the disadvantaged relied heavily on the Post Office, but it was not only disadvantaged people who felt that way. Small and medium-sized businesses also felt that the Post Office played an important part in the way they ran their businesses. Research by Postcomm estimates that the social value of the post offices up and down the country runs to about £10 billion. The case for the network is clear, well made and, I believe, totally understood by the Opposition. Sadly, however, they ran away from the issue.

There is a great need to heighten, increase and force through technical development. Of course, that could not happen in the past. Hooper said that the Royal Mail needed to modernise, improve its management and expand its range of services. I believe that the Bill will achieve all those objectives.

The relationship between management and work force needs to be improved-and the problem is not all the fault of the unions by a long chalk. Previous management, I believe, acted in a bullying way that did nothing for good industrial relations-and I said so at the time, as did my colleagues on the Select Committee. This is one reason why I came to the conclusion that there was a massive need for a real injection of good-quality management into the Post Office.