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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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ROYAL MAIL PRIVATISATION WOULD SPELL DISASTER SAYS SNP CANDIDATE

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford has expressed deep concern that the UK Government is considering the privatisation of Royal Mail, following reports that the Labour Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson was considering this.

Lord Mandelson has this week appeared before a House of Commons committee and very noticeably did not explicitly deny his support for privatisation when questioned by MPs.

Local SNP Parliamentarians have been a long-time supporters of postal services. Most recently campaigning to keep the Post Office Card Account under Post Office control and supporting the Universal Service Obligation that underpins Royal Mail's services.

Commenting on the suggestion of privatisation Eilidh Whiteford said:

"We have just witnessed a massive bail out of banks. New finance for business has all but dried up yet Lord Mandelson appears to be considering the privatisation of Royal Mail. This is complete lunacy.

"Royal Mail is not just a business but has a huge social role, including the universal service obligation which is so important to many areas of Scotland including the rural North-east. Privatisation of Royal Mail would be a complete disaster, as it would almost certainly lead to a downgrading of the universal service obligation.

"While Lord Mandelson appears to be looking at privatisation communities across Banff & Buchan have just suffered a round of closures and downgrades despite very strong local opposition. The whole process is deeply flawed.

"Worse may be around the corner with reports that the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) may give the contract for the Post Office Card Account (POCA) to another provider. In Banff & Buchan alone more than 2,500 people completed postcards in support of the Card Account.

"The DWP caused the present crisis by transferring payments from the Post Office cutting a massive amount of business overnight. It would be the ultimate betrayal if they now twist the knife further by taking away the POCA which has proved very popular."

"The Government should be developing a positive policy and agenda for Postal Services rather than constantly undermining them."

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