Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Clause 79 — Guarantees where postal administration order is made

Part of Dairy Farming – in the House of Commons at 6:40 pm on 12th January 2011.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of John Denham John Denham Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills 6:40 pm, 12th January 2011

But the evidence remains, some 50 years later, that that did not happen. My point remains-public ownership, and the debates around it, protected that position.

Before Christmas, when the Minister was challenged on this issue, his response was, "Don't worry. No sensible private buyer would dream of removing the monarch's head." He has now conceded that that response is not enough. Yet when Members asked him today about a private buyer's relationship with the post office network, the same argument came into play: "Don't worry. No sane private buyer would take the business away from the post office network." If the guarantee is necessary for the sovereign's head, it is necessary for the inter-business agreement with post offices. It will not do to ask the House to accept this on trust, because thousands of post offices are at risk. That is, and has been from the outset, the fundamental argument against a majority privatisation of the Post Office. Although Royal Mail must be run as a commercial enterprise, majority shareholding for the public gives an ultimate protection that privatisation will not provide. If the Bill is flawed, as it is, then that protection will not exist.

The case has not been made in other areas, because, in contrast with the situation just a few years ago, transformation and modernisation are under way. The challenge of bringing in capable, senior management has been met, as I am sure all Members who have met the chief executive will confirm. Investment funds are currently available, and there are mechanisms well short of majority privatisation or a minority shareholding that could be used to raise equity in future.