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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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WHITEFORD CONCERNS OVER POSTAL PRIVATISATION

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

LIB-DEMS SELL-OUT OVER SELL-OFF

Commenting on publication today (Wednesday) of the Postal Services Bill, Banff & Buchan SNP MP Eilidh Whiteford expressed concern at the absence of an upper limit on how much of Royal Mail could be sold off to a private company.

Overseas firms will be among those allowed to buy 90% of the Royal Mail, with 10% going in shares to postal workers.

Speaking from Westminster, Dr Whiteford said:

“We can now see in black and white just how far the Tories and Liberal Democrats are prepared to go, with no upper limit on how much of the business can be sold-off. Even Lord Mandelson offered to insert a legislative guarantee that only 33% could be privatised.

“After following the lead of the previous Labour Government and spending months of running-down Royal Mail, Vince Cable is now talking it up in the hope of flogging it off. The wording of any prospectus should be interesting.

“The truth of the matter is that the present state of the Royal Mail has arisen because successive governments have taken money out of the company rather than investing it back into the system.

“If the company is sold off it is inconceivable that there will not be increased pressure on the Universal Service Obligation. Vince Cable has already indicated that he is prepared to reduce the six day a week service.

“The maintenance of a comprehensive mail delivery service is essential for areas like Banff & Buchan and that could best be achieved by keeping the company in public ownership. We have already seen the chaos that has overtaken the Post Office network by the rush to "liberalisation".

“A similar situation could devastate mail delivery services. The report recommending part privatisation also suggests that local sorting centres could be closed.

“Royal Mail is a vital public service and the maintenance of the universal service obligation is essential for communities and small businesses throughout Scotland. Many small businesses rely on Royal Mail and any threat to it could be disastrous at a time of recession when it is essential to support small local businesses.

"It is clear that Royal Mail requires investment, but that should be public investment for the future and to ensure a universal service.”

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