Jim McGovern opposes plans to privatise the Royal Mail service

12 July 2013

Last week I had the privilege to attend a meeting in Parliament with a coalition of trade unions which covered a whole host of issues.

There were around 300 CWU members there and when I addressed the meeting I assured them that it was my firm belief that Royal Mail should remain a public company.

I resigned during the last Labour Government as Personal Private Secretary to the then minister for the Royal Mail over plans to privatise the service and I did not regret my action on the day, or on any day ever since.

I know that the Government's proposals to privatise Royal Mail have caused real concern among many local people and Royal Mail staff.

Indeed, the result of the recent ballot of Royal Mail workers shows that an overwhelming majority - 96% - oppose the Government's plans.

The Government's proposal has also been criticised by the Communication Workers Union and is not supported by the National Federation of Subpostmasters.

Royal Mail's recent financial results - which showed that the company's annual operating profits have doubled in the last financial year - are also evidence of the hard work of Royal Mail staff and show that now is not the right time for privatisation.

I feel that the move to privatisation is not in the interests of the taxpayer, the company or Royal Mail staff and I believe that the significant uncertainties around the Government's plans and the immeasurable impact that privatisation would have on the universal service obligation strongly makes the case for a publicly owned Royal Mail.

I also suspect that the timing of this proposal is motivated by the Government's desire to raise money quickly in order to compensate for their failing economic plan, which has left the Government borrowing £245 billion more than they planned in 2010.

I do not believe that this is the right way to decide the future of Royal Mail, which should always be based on an assessment of how best to secure the universal service obligation and how to get the best value for the taxpayer.

I voted against the Government's 2011 Postal Services Act, which legislated to allow the sale of up to 90% of Royal Mail shares and I can assure you that I will continue to urge the Government to reconsider this proposed sell-off and I will be taking every opportunity to oppose the proposals.

Communication Workers Union (CWU) campaign

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