The Post Office network will not be privatised, according to new Postal Affairs Minister Ed Davey.
Speaking at a cross-party parliamentary group on Post Offices, Davey said that the network would remain in public ownership for the foreseeable future. He also formally announced that he has secured £180m from the Treasury to fund the Social Network Payment in 2011 that will help sustain rural post offices.
However he did not rule out the part-privatisation of Royal Mail, saying that it is in a “precarious position” and that the “status quo is not tenable”.
National Federation of Sub-Postmasters general secretary George Thomson welcomed the announcement regarding the Post Office but was concerned that privatising Royal Mail could lead to post offices suffering if a non-UK company was to become involved.
One-third of the Post Office’s business stems from Royal Mail and Thomson believed that if it is sold to non-UK companies, services such as the benefits contract could be taken away from the Post Office and awarded elsewhere.
“A foreign company does not have the interests of the British public at heart in the same way as a British company,” said Thomson. “It makes no sense for it to be owned outside the UK. It is a critical part of British industry.”