Earlier today an eMail was sent to me and anyone else registered with the Labour Party concerning the Royal Mail. It proported to come from Labour Party Leader, Gordon Brown. It reads:
I am writing to you about today's announcement of the Hooper Report on the future of the Royal Mail.
The universal service helps to bind us together as a country. It guarantees 28 million homes and businesses across the country mail deliveries six days a week, with one price goes anywhere. The Hooper report warns that the universal service is now under threat. The status quo is untenable. The choice we face is either downgrading the service as we manage decline or acting now to turn things round and secure the Royal Mail's future.
The threat to the Royal Mail and the universal service comes from the impact of changes in technology and consumer choice. In this country 60 billion text messages were sent last year, while we posted five million fewer letters than two years ago. This shift has cost Royal Mail an estimated £500 million in profits. That is five times the impact of business lost to other postal companies in the liberalised market . Making these other companies go away is not the answer to the Royal Mail succeeding.
We will fufil our manifesto commitment to "a publicly owned Royal Mail fully restored to good health, providing customers with an excellent service and its employees with rewarding employment". Bringing in a partner through a minority stake in the Royal Mail's postal business will help us to deliver that goal. It will bring the Royal Mail fresh investment, new opportunities to grow in Europe and internationally, and to offer new services. It will provide a fresh impetus to modernising the Royal Mail and securing the universal service.
Alongside a strategic partnership for the Royal Mail we will reform regulation to more effectively support the universal service. And we will help the Royal Mail tackle its ballooning pension fund deficit. This will not impact on Post Office counters in anyway.
I hope you will agree with me that this is the best way to save the Royal Mail and its universal service guarantee.
What can I say as a mere rank and file member of the Labour Party? There was no reply facility in the eMail. But I know that a Labour government is paying obscene salaries to Royal Mail executives. At the same time there are loyal staff who collect and deliver my post who earn a fraction of those salaries.
So, sorry Gordon, since you asked, I don't agree on the basis of the information set out that part-privatisation is the best way to save the Royal Mail. Given the obscene amounts of money you have offered to the banking sector, I suspect there is nothing that a public service provider run by public service entrepreneurs needs to learn from the private sector to deliver a universal service guarantee.