GR Direct - Sony - Save up to £300 on selected Bravia OLED & LED TVs
Monday 24 June 2024
 13.7°C   S Moderate Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

News / Postage charges under threat, MP says

Isles MP Alistair Carmichael.

ISLES MP and Scottish secretary Alistair Carmichael has warned the Royal Mail’s universal service obligation (USO) is under threat.

Carmichael has called on the regulator Ofcom to intervene to ensure remote areas like Shetland receive the same level of service as more populated parts of the country.

He also denied suggestions that last year’s privatisation of the Royal Mail had undermined its ability to deliver post nationwide for the same price.

Meanwhile pro-independence group Yes Shetland repeated its call for the postal service be brought back into public ownership.

The issue came to prominence on Wednesday when Royal Mail chief executive Moya Greene said that private companies were undermining the USO by cherry picking the most lucrative delivery services.

Carmichael said Ofcom could tackle this with new powers to charge a levy to companies for picking off the most profitable routes.

He added that privatisation had been necessary to protect the universal service, after the markets were opened up by Europe, and not London.

“It is not a question of ownership, it is a question of competition, and the cherry picking is not something that has happened overnight,” he said.

“That competition has posed the threat to Royal Mail, and that’s why it was necessary to privatise Royal Mail, because they needed the commercial freedom to take on the other commercially free operators in that market.”

He said now that Ofcom had powers to protect the USO, they should be doing their job.

“That is why we will now be watching closely and applying any pressure that needs to be applied.”

Yes Shetland say that three out of four people in Scotland would approve of Royal Mail being taken back into public ownership.

Chairman Brian Nugent said communities like Shetland would be the first to suffer if the USO was removed.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

 

“Shetland should have a postal service that meets the needs of our community,” he said.

“Royal Mail should be brought back into public ownership with the universal service obligation in place.’

“The only surprise is how short a time it has taken Royal Mail to try to off load the obligation.

“The privatisation was botched, the company was sold off cheap and it looks like the service level or prices will rise for businesses and ordinary folk who happen to live in remote places.”

But Carmichael pointed out that the Scottish Government, who made a commitment to re-nationalise Royal Mail, had used private firms for the delivery of its white paper on independence.

“The SNP claims to be defending a re-nationalised Royal Mail but we know that these claims are hollow.

“Last year they were forced to admit that they had diverted £24 million from the Royal Mail to private provider TNT.”

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.

 
Categories

Newsletters

Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.