Postal Services Bill

Part of Planning (Developer Bonds) – in the House of Commons at 4:07 pm on 27th October 2010.

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Photo of Michael Weir Michael Weir Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Business), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Energy and Climate Change) 4:07 pm, 27th October 2010

I shall not give way again; time is getting on.

I pointed out in an intervention that the chief executive officer of Royal Mail is calling for an overhaul of the regulatory regime, including the ability to price products freely, to put limitations on the products covered by the universal service obligation and for the USO fully to cover its costs-the cost of delivering a letter to the islands of Scotland is about £30 not 30p-and for restrictions on access to the Royal Mail network by competitors. If a privately owned Royal Mail goes down that route, the pressure on the Government and regulators could be immense and could mean a substantial rise in postal costs to rural areas. It would be the ultimate irony if the Bill meant that a privatised Royal Mail was given an ability to compete against other privatised companies that it was denied when it was a public body.

I should like to say more about post offices- [ Interruption. ] I would take another intervention if it gave me two more minutes. The Business Secretary failed to explain how mutualisation would work. He failed to say how a post office that has moved into a branch of WH Smith, as many have, will form part of a mutual. How will individually owned-