Royal Mail – Charter concerns
October 26th 2010
North Thanet`s MP Roger Gale has expressed concerns for the Postal Service`s Royal Charter in the light of the proposed sale of Royal Mail.
The MP has raised the issue in a written PQ and has received from BIS Minister, Ed Davey, the response that
“The Government believes that Royal Mail should continue to retain its name and other Royal associatioins as it will continue to be the provider of the postal service throughout the UK.
We appreciate that there may be concerns about the potential for misuse of these associations in the future so we propose to put in place safeguards to ensure that they are used respectfully and appropriately at all times and that mechanisms exist to remove these privileges if necessary.
The government is discussing these matters with the Palace.”
“I fully appreciate that mismanagement, lack of investment in technology and competition from electronic communications, coupled with a crippling pension burden, have led us to where we are today “ says Gale “but it is difficult to see how the Royal connection, proudly maintained for over a century, can be maintained if the Royal Mail is sold to a Dutch, German or other non-UK buyer.
This might seem peripheral to the dire economic situation faced but it is an issue that must be addressed and the Minister`s response suggests to me that this aspect of the legislation has not been fully thought-through. At present the bill contains a measure (Clause 60) relating to “UK postage stamps bearing an image of Her Majesty” and provides for the provision of postage stamps to be approved by the Queen but these are based upon a direction to be issued by The Secretary of State which may be revoked or varied. That strikes me as less than watertight”.