Concern for future of Royal Mail deliveries to rural areas

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Local MP Angus MacNeil has spoken of his fears for the future of the Royal Mail’s Universal Services Obligation (USO) following reports that the service is under threat.

National reports say Royal Mail has warned that the USO is under threat due to rival companies ‘cherry picking’ deliveries in towns and cities while by-passing more expensive deliveries to places such as Scottish islands.

The SNP MP for the Western Isles said: “The SNP repeatedly warned that privatisation of the Royal Mail would inevitably lead to pressure on the USO – warnings which were dismissed by the UK Government, which pressed ahead with the sell-off.

“The privatisation has already proved controversial, after the UK Government reportedly undervalued Royal Mail shares to the tune of almost three quarters of a billion pounds.

“It is absolutely no surprise to anyone following this botched sell off that this new threat to the USO has emerged - but it is shocking that it has come quite so soon after privatisation. As soon as the Westminster coalition decided to sell off the Royal Mail in their rushed - bargain basement sale – we predicted that the USO – which is so vital to Scotland – and to rural businesses and communities in particular – would be threatened.

“This privatisation has been a disgraceful shambles since day one and it is absolutely no surprise whatsoever the USO is now in the sights of the privately owned Royal Mail – they have got their hedge fund masters to keep happy now. We have always believed that a privatised postal service in a competitive market will undoubtedly be under pressure as its competitors ‘cherry pick’ the profitable urban routes leading to a reduced service in rural and less affluent areas.

“This is in addition to the recent news that the UK government lost nearly three quarters of a billion pounds of taxpayers money by undervaluing Royal Mail shares. It is completely indefensible as part of Westminster’s rush to sell of Royal Mail.”