The government has outlined safeguards which it hopes will help protect the long-term futures of the Royal Mail and Post Office network.

Announced as amendments to the Postal Services Bill, which is currently going through Parliament, the safeguards include an assurance that the Royal Mail will remain the sole provider of the universal service for the next 10 years and that MPs will be kept updated on the commercial relationship between Royal Mail and the Post Office so that further large-scale closures of branches can be prevented.

Under the Postal Services Bill, the government plans to privatise Royal Mail and ‘mutualise’ Post Office Limited (POL), splitting the two organisations. The mutualisation plans for the Post Office aim to give more say to subpostmasters in the running of the network however the National Federation of SubPostmasters has called for a 10-year working arrangement between Royal Mail and the POL in order to ensure the its survival.

The announcement was welcomed by Communication Workers Union general secretary Billy Hayes. “The amendments on the universal service and the commercial relationship between Royal Mail and the Post Office have been key campaign aims for the union and we are delighted the government has listened,” he said.

“We are looking for a clearer commitment to an inter-business agreement Royal Mail and the Post Office, but this is a good step towards that aim.”

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