Angus MP Mike Weir has criticised the Tory UK government’s plans to privatise the remaining 30% stake in the Royal Mail and said that this could prove to be another threat to universal postal services to rural areas such as Angus.
Mr Weir noted that this was kept quiet by the Tories during the general election campaign but was suddenly announced before even the budget set for early July, along with a number of cuts and “efficiency savings” slashing up to £170 million from Scotland’s budget at a time when budgets for the year have already been set.
Mr Weir said
“The Chancellor’s moves are very bad news for Scotland and the public services which are so important to the people of Angus.”
“These cuts will inflict significant difficulties on the Scottish budget, which has already been set for the year and also raises huge worries as to what the Chancellor has in mind for his “emergency” budget in early July. This weeks cuts are mostly put down to “efficiency savings” yet no detail is given as to where they are to be found.”
Mr Weir has long campaigned on the issue of postal services and expressed concern that the sale of the remainder of Royal Mail will inevitably put more pressure on these vital services.
“Last year the National Audit Office concluded the sale of Royal Mail was rushed at the expense of value for money, but now the Tories are just carrying on regardless.
“The UK government’s decision to privatise the remainder of Royal Mail poses real danger to the postal service, and in particular, the universal service obligation which is of huge importance to Scotland.
“A privatised postal service in a competitive market will undoubtedly put pressure on government to reduce the terms of the Universal Service Obligation, as its competitors cherry pick the profitable urban routes leading to a reduced service in rural and less affluent areas. It threatens to have particularly harmful consequences for Scotland, where so many of our rural communities and so much of our rural economy rely on the Royal Mail service.”