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 have made our commitment. We have offered loan and debt facilities, and we will maintain those. The whole point of getting a minority partner, however, is to make available to the Royal Mail many millions—potentially hundreds of millions—in additional investment, as well as the resources needed to address the pension fund deficit, in a way that would not otherwise be available to it. We will do everything necessary to discharge our responsibilities to the Royal Mail to tide it over until the new conditions have been put in place.

I have seen that the main trade union in the Royal Mail has made an alarmist estimate of the job losses that might be involved. I do not recognise anything like the sort of figures that the union has bandied around, and I think those figures are being used more to scare people than to inform them.

With regard to the pension arrangements, I have indicated what the Government will do to help in this situation but the precise arrangements for Royal Mail pensions are a matter for the company and for the pension fund trustees, not for the Government.