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

I had the distinction-perhaps that is not the best word-of meeting the chief executive in question, and I read some of his letters to the work force. I have to say that if I had been a member of that work force, I would have been horrified to receive those letters. If they had been circulated in a company that I had anything to do with, I would have done my very best to bring the gentleman in question to book. I hope that my answer will enable the hon. Gentleman to understand that I too share his concerns.

We need a massive change in management. I believe that the Bill is designed to achieve that and might well succeed, but we still have not had the answers we need to provide any certitude in that direction. We are dealing with a pension deficit in the region of £10.4 billion. We have to find answers as to how best to deal with that, and I believe that the Bill finds those answers.

Finally-I know many Members wish to speak-I want to return to the question of management, which is central to the success of any measures put in place to save a broke and bust Post Office. I appeal to the Minister responsible for postal affairs to explain in more detail how his proposals will achieve that objective. The previous Government saw that as an important part of the process of rejuvenating the Post Office. That is why they introduced a Bill that would have meant a new injection of capital, with 30% ownership from the private sector. Sadly, that did not work. I do not believe that the previous Government worked hard enough to push it through. I understand why it did not work-because the Government did not have the courage to go further. No private company would seriously consider that small a holding for that big an investment. It was a very difficult proposition from the beginning.

The truth is that the success of the Post Office will revolve around better relationships with the workers, better modernisation and removing the great pension fund burden. I believe that all those things can happen under the Bill if-I say again, if-we get the correct level of quality management. Such management must recognise that the whole of the marketplace has moved so quickly that there are very many opportunities, but it will take creativity, courage and bravery on the part of that management to achieve the successes that the organisation can achieve. I ask the Minister to use a little of his time to explain to us how he will attract that quality management, which is so central to the success of the operation.