The Post Office network will not be privatised, according to Postal Affairs Minister Ed Davey.

Speaking at a cross-party parliamentary group on post offices, Davey said the network would remain in public ownership for the foreseeable future.

He also announced that £180m had been secured from the Treasury to fund the Social Network Payment in 2011 and help sustain rural post offices.

However, he did not rule out the part-privatisation of Royal Mail, saying that the "status quo is not tenable".

National Federation of Sub-Postmasters general secretary George Thomson welcomed the announcement about the Post Office, but was concerned that privatising Royal Mail could lead to post offices suffering if a non-UK company were to become involved.

One-third of the Post Office's business comes from Royal Mail and Thomson believes that services such as the benefits contract could be awarded elsewhere if it was sold to a non-UK company.

"A foreign company does not have the interests of the British public at heart in the same way as a British company," he said.

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