Postal Services Bill

Part of Planning (Developer Bonds) – in the House of Commons at 5:07 pm on 27th October 2010.

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Photo of Sharon Hodgson Sharon Hodgson Shadow Minister (Education) 5:07 pm, 27th October 2010

I do agree. A lot of things that we now take for granted would be under threat, including that.

Several members of the new Government were fairly open prior to the election about their contempt for Ofcom. It is not for me to speculate as to why that might be, but it appeared to coincide with the acquisition by the Tories of a certain powerful new patron who shares that contempt. At any rate, the chances of No. 10 backing Ofcom on maintaining the six-day delivery week, or of even imploring Ofcom to maintain it, seem fairly slim. Can the Minister today give a guarantee to the House that Ofcom will not be leant on from any quarter-or, better still, will he undertake to remove the flexibility entirely at a later stage of the Bill's proceedings?

I realise that many other Members wish to speak, so I will limit the length of my remarks. The majority of Members recognise that reform of postal services is needed to secure the long-term future of Royal Mail and to maintain the universal service obligation, but the Government have no mandate to introduce the Bill as currently drafted. Allowing the sell-off of Royal Mail is not wanted by my constituents and nor is it wanted by many Members on both sides of the House or the wider public. It is certainly not wanted by the employees, even with the promise of bunging them a few shares as a sweetener. The only people who do want it are the potential investors and their friends on the Treasury Bench. The interests of this narrow constituency do not justify the Government's taking an ideological sledgehammer to a nut that does not necessarily need to be cracked.