Business Secretary Lord Mandelson (as we must learn to call him) made a statement to the House of Lords yesterday. Apparently the Government’s plans have led to the resignation of Jim McGovern as PPS to Pat McFadden, a minister who works under Mandy – sorry, Lord Mandelson.
Lord Mandy (there, that’s a compromise) outlined the Government’s plans for partial privatisation of the Royal Mail:
"We will fulfil our manifesto commitment to,
Bringing in a partner through a minority stake in the Royal Mail’s postal business will help us to deliver that goal. It will bring the Royal Mail fresh investment and new opportunities to grow in Europe and internationally, and to offer new services. It will provide a fresh impetus to modernising the Royal Mail and securing the universal service. We and the Royal Mail have already received one expression of interest from the Dutch postal company, TNT, to build such a partnership. I very much welcome this approach from an experienced postal company, just as I will welcome other expressions of interest from credible partners, should they come forward. My department will pursue this in the coming weeks."
Lord de Mauley (aka Rupert Charles Ponsonby, which is a SUPERB name) responded on behalf of the Conservative front bench:
"Royal Mail’s working practices are inefficient, competition is intensifying, industrial relations are poor and sorting machinery is outdated, while the fixed price of a stamp and a huge pension deficit seriously limit room for manoeuvre. All this has been clear for a decade, but for all that time the Government have done nothing to curtail a precipitous decline in Royal Mail’s fortunes.
Today we learn that the Government are trying to strike a desperate deal to see them through the next election. They are trying to look like the saviour of Royal Mail but are doing so in a barely disguised breach of their election manifesto. Even though his own party will not do so, we broadly welcome the Secretary of State’s intention to introduce a new commercial partner. It is a step in the right direction, although the details remain unclear."
What do ConservativeHome readers think the future should hold for the Royal Mail?