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Westminster Hall debate: Future of postal services: 10 Jan

Jan 13, 2023 |

Communications Team

On January 10, Westminster had a Hall debate concerning the future of the postal services.

Many important topics were discussed in this debate across all political parties.
  • Tahir Ali MP, a member of CWU and former employee of RM introduced the debate.
  • Companies like Evri make many mistakes, including losing parcels. Companies such as Evri should be held to account for their failings?
  • Simon Thompson should resign, if half the money given to shareholders were given to the striking workers, then there would be no need to strike.
  • Royal Mail staff, increased the revenues of Royal Mail by a huge 40%, generating healthy profits of £758 million for the company in 2021. However, £576 million of those profits were promptly paid out to shareholders, with the chief executive officer of Royal Mail, Simon Thompson, paying himself a massive bonus of £140,000.
  • RM should be seen as a public company and re-nationalised.
  • Emma Hardy MP: Only 116 Crown POs left. With banks closing down, how can people access their banking services.
  • Online shopping and the postal market is rapidly increasing over the years. POs trying to keep up with the surge in demand.
  • Big cracks in the network. Subsidy in decline and reduction in investment. Only 4,000 of the total are open 7 days a week.
  • Accessibility to branches is a big concern, especially in rural areas.
  • What is the government doing to ‘level up’ POs in places such as rural areas.
  • What impact assessments have the government undertaken to ensure everyone can access a PO.
  • Government funding for post offices through the network subsidy and investment grants declined from £410 million in 2012-13 to just £120 million in 2020-21—a reduction of 71%.
  • Will the government restore the numbers of the network to previous levels?
  • RM USO is a competitive advantage.
  • Will the government confirm they stand against the gig economy stricture RM seems to be going in?
  • Will the Minister agree that the PO is there for life and not just for Christmas?
  • In 2004-05, Royal Mail delivered around 20 billion letters. Last year, that figure had dropped to 8 billion.
  • Mr Carter MP, conscious of the debate later in the week. When the market changes, so too should the network. We don’t send as much as we once did. It’s the parcel market that is important.
  • Jeremy Corbyn MP: The service was privatised and then separated from the PO. They should still be one. The USO is there to meet the needs. It should be taken back and nationalised.
  • The USO is particularly important. Ofcom should be coming forward and using their powers.
  • The government has said it has no plans to change the USO, however, RM stated reform was needed. What is the government doing to ensure Ofcom are using their powers.
  • Workers' rights have been systematically undermined. Long-term job security is needed.
  • The government must agree to prevent POs from closing.
  • RM has been driven to the gig economy while managers payout to shareholders, and now want to break up the USO.
  • Ofcom is letting RM off the hook.
  • Marion Fellows MP: giving profits to shareholders is not the way this should work. What about important letters. These things are causing disruption to a functioning government.
  • Chi Onwurah MP: Can the Minister outline the future strategy for the network.
  • Minister Hollinrake: Volumes are so low it affects revenue. There will be no redundancies due to the strike action. Don’t agree the company should be renationalised.
  • The Government’s postal policy objective continues to be a financially sustainable and efficient universal service that meets the needs of users within an open and competitive postal market. That is why the six-day week, “one price goes anywhere” and the universal service remains at the heart of the regulatory regime.
  • To be completely clear, the Government currently have no plans to change the statutory minimum requirements of a universal postal service, which are set out in the Postal Services Act 2011.

Tags: Politics, Post Office