SNP MP Mike Weir has called for “fair-weather firms” who abandoned deliveries to addresses in Scotland because of the winter weather to be banned from bidding for Royal Mail under privatisation plans.
The SNP Business and Enterprise spokesperson said the suspension of deliveries by private delivery companies underlined the difference between private firms and Royal Mail whose universal service obligation ensures that deliveries continue in all conditions.
Mr Weir, a member of the Postal Services Bill Committee, has tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM) on the issue in parliament.
Mr Weir said:
“The difference between fair-weather firms who abandoned deliveries and Royal Mail who are battling through the winter weather totally reinforces the case to keep the post public.
“The companies that cancelled Christmas deliveries are not up to the standards of the universal postal service, and they should not be allowed to bid for Royal Mail under the UK government’s privatisation proposals.”
Mr Weir claimed that plans by the London coalition to privatise the service and reduce delivery days would jeopardise universal deliveries to remote areas.
The SNP MP added:
“We already know that Vince Cable is considering scrapping Saturday deliveries and switching to five day a week delivery – the absolute minimum allowed under European regulations. It is simply inconceivable that the universal service obligation could survive in its current form after privatisation.
“Any reduction in the universal service obligation will be hardest felt by people in rural areas, and crucially businesses, who rely about these deliveries. More so, at a time of economic turbulence it is absolutely crucial that businesses in rural areas have access to high quality mail services.
“The universal service obligation is vital to individuals and small businesses throughout Scotland and must not be put at risk by privatisation. This should be a wake-up call to Vince Cable to reconsider his plans and abandon plans to sell off this vital national resource. At the very least he should make it abundantly clear that no company which is prepared to simply abandon services in Scotland will be considered as a purchaser of any part of Royal Mail.
“Royal Mail cannot be viewed as just another company. It provides an essential public service, especially to smaller communities and small businesses who do not have access to alternative carriers.”