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The truths they don't want you to read....

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Post Office privatisation

Post Office closuresWith all the threats that the pension scheme will collapse, or that the business is insolvent, or that the business model is broken, the big issue is being missed.

Perhaps deliberately so.

As the Labour-ideology-free spectre of Peter Mandelson hovering over the near-corpse of a once magnificent public service organisation weren't enough to put the fear into the posties, the deliberate policies pursued by the Government are coming home to roost.

No apologies for repeating myself, but the 'liberalisation' of the postal market has been a disaster for the Royal Mail, not because competition is bad, but because the way in which this has been done.

Will any of the numerous competitors deliver here at a flat rate? Can you get companies to post goods to you for a few quid via Royal Mail rather than facing a £25 charge, plus a surcharge, plus a delay, only to be told that 'we don't deliver there'?

We are directly suffering due to the uneven nature of the competition.

As Chair of the relevant Committee in the Comhairle, I went on record that we had no objection to liberalisation of the postal services, as long as there was a universal delivery obligation placed on every entrant and that every company had to charge a flat rate for that service.

That would have meant that any entrant would have to build a UK-wide network over (say) five years by which time you could post a letter anywhere in the UK at a fixed price and know that it would be delivered in a reasonable time.

Perhaps that last mile to the house would be provided by Royal Mail, but it would be up to Royal Mail and the competitor to agree a price for that. The advantage to us would have been that if your supplier in the south of England had an exclusive contract with TNT, then you would still get the goods with no surcharge; whilst the supplier can shop around the different postal companies to get the best deal.

Instead, we have 100+ companies inside the M25 cherry-picking the most lucrative business and leaving Royal Mail to carry the cost of a full network with reduced volumes.

If you want to save the Royal Mail, then rebuild a level playing-field for competition; don't just give it away because you don't (want to) understand what you have done to the organisation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, as in so much else, Government MUST privatize the Post Office.

The EU directed that the service be opened to competition. End of story.