Sunday, 19 December 2010

Royal Mail Part Privatisation

The sell off of shares in the Royal Mail is in the news today as it has become clear that, surprisingly, the Royal Mail is under no obligation to use the Monarch's image on stamps. But that is a side issue as far as this particular blog is concerned.

The Liberal Democrat Manifesto said this with regard to the Royal Mail:
"Give both Royal Mail and post offices a long-term future, by separating Post Office Ltd from the Royal Mail and retaining Post Office Ltd in full public ownership. 49 per cent of Royal Mail will be sold to create funds for investment. The ownership of the other 51 per cent will be divided between an employee trust and the government."
Oddly, the Tory manifesto didn't mention the Royal Mail and only mentioned Post Offices in passing. The Coalition agreement, however, states:
"We will seek to ensure an injection of private capital into Royal Mail, including opportunities for employee ownership. We will retain Post Office Ltd in public ownership."
The government has also opted to delay a decision on the precise percentage to be sold, so it may yet prove to go further than the Lib Dem mainifesto (the bill allows the sale of up to 90% with 10% passing to employee ownership).

That said, however, this is another example of policy into which Liberal Democrats input is obvious and which is being implemented by Lib Dem ministers.  See the Department of Business website for more on the Royal Mail and the government's proposals and check the bill's parliamentary progress here.


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