Postal Services Bill

Part of Planning (Developer Bonds) – in the House of Commons at 4:59 pm on 27th October 2010.

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Photo of Alan Reid Alan Reid Liberal Democrat, Argyll and Bute 4:59 pm, 27th October 2010

I am afraid that I do not know the details of what is happening to Royal Mail services in Belfast, so I shall have to pass on that, but the Minister has an hour and a half in which to find out the answer.

As I was saying, there simply is no alternative to private capital. Royal Mail is in a very difficult position. As other Members have pointed out, there is competition not just from other mail companies, but from other means of communication such as the internet and e-mail. As we heard from Mr McFadden, the former postal affairs Minister, the last Government concluded that private capital was required. There are clearly differences of opinion on whether there should still be a majority Government stake or whether the Government should have the power to sell off more than half the business, but I think that we should give the Government the power to sell off as much of the business as they consider necessary. We should bear in mind that the Bill does not mandate the full privatisation of Royal Mail, but merely gives the Government that power. I believe that we should give them the flexibility that they require in these difficult economic times.