Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie has tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament calling for the Royal Mail to remain publicly owned. (S3M-03557 Cathy Peattie (Falkirk East) (Scottish Labour): Keep the Post Public)
“This is a matter for Westminster to decide,” said Cathy, “but it is also one that has profound implications for the social and economic wellbeing of Scotland, and that make it an important issue for the Scottish Parliament too. I do not believe that there is any justification for the privatisation of the post, partial or otherwise. The Royal Mail Group revenue and profits are increasing, and would be higher were it not for the uncompetitive conditions under which the Royal Mail delivers mail for rival companies.
“The Hooper Report recommends that the UK Government should take responsibility for the pensions deficit. This deficit arose following an extended contributions holiday, and has been exacerbated by the global financial situation. But if this can be sorted to facilitate privatisation, then why not to keep the otherwise profitable Royal Mail publicly owned?
“There is strong opposition from businesses and the public towards privatisation, with opinion polls showing public support for privatisation as low as 3%. After what has happened with the banks, private sector institutions having to be rescued, people are not keen to see the post office sold off to the private sector.
“The issue of modernisation is also a red herring. The Communication Workers Union has been calling for a new relationship between management and postal unions and wants to negotiate an agreement that would support the modernisation of the industry. It is the management which has been dragging its heels – in 2007 the UK Government agreed to a £1.2 billion loan facility on commercial terms to modernise Royal Mail operations. but two years later only half of this money has been spent.
“I am convinced that the best way to protect the universal service obligation, including six days a week delivery, is to keep the post public.”