Royal Mail — Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:40 pm on 16th December 2008.

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Photo of Lord Mandelson Lord Mandelson Secretary of State, Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform, Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform 3:40 pm, 16th December 2008

My Lords, we are all in Mr Hooper's debt because he has produced a first-rate report. The sort of minority partner we are seeking is someone with the will and resources to invest in Royal Mail—that is the principal condition—but I think the partner needs to bring more than that: experience, expertise and a proven track record not only in transforming a postal business of its own but also in working closely with the workforce and its union representatives in the process of doing so. Quite frankly, if we do not have that experience and attitude brought to the affairs of Royal Mail, we are unlikely to cure what I think is one of its most serious diseases, which is the poor relationship and lack of trust between the management and the workforce. That really does have to change.

I can confirm that legislation will need to be introduced, but I stress to noble Lords that we are not simply going to fix the regulation, lift the pension burden, and stop there. For us it will be all or nothing. The customer and the taxpayer demand something back out of these changes, and that will depend on all the Hooper recommendations being implemented, not being cherry-picked. The public are certainly not going to pick up the bill for what is going to be done without getting anything back. That is a very important principle.