By a Newsnet reporter
A senior member of the Communications Union in Scotland has described as “utter hypocrisy” claims by the UK Government that Post Offices would be under threat in an independent Scotland.
Willie Marshall, Secretary of Communications Union (CWU) Scotland, Number 2 Branch, said that far from threatening Post Offices, an independent Scotland would be more likely to offer protection.
The UK Government is currently preparing the privatisation of the Royal Mail – against the votes of Scottish MPs and in opposition to views in the Scottish Parliament. At the same time communities across Scotland are having to fight the closure of five Crown Post Offices.
However in an article yesterday in the Scotland on Sunday, it emerged that the UK Government was planning to claim independence would leave Scotland unable to afford the current number of Post Offices and services. The Westminster paper, which is still in draft form, is to claim that the rest of the UK subsidises Scotland’s postal service.
However, the CWU and the National Federation of Sub Post Masters have warned Westminster that their own proposals could lead to higher prices and put Post offices and rural services at risk.
Responding to reports that the No campaign plan to use the future of post offices in their campaign Willie Marshall, Secretary of Communications Union (CWU) Scotland, Number 2 Branch, said:
“This is utter hypocrisy from Vince Cable. As a minister in the Tory led government determined to sell of Royal Mail to the highest bidder he is fooling no one.
“Privatising Royal Mail will be the biggest threat to customers and employees all over Scotland but particularly in remote and rural areas if the universal service obligation is ditched. People know perfectly well that an independent Scottish government would protect those services in a way that Westminster simply won’t.”
Fergus Ewing MSP, who is responsible for Postal Services within the Scottish Government commented:
“Any attempt by Westminster to pretend they care about Scotland’s postal services will be seen for the bare faced cheek that it is.
“The Westminster government is in the middle of privatising our cherished postal service and closing a fifth of our Crown Post offices. The reality is that a Yes vote next year is the only way to ensure Scotland has a government that cares about Scotland’s postal services.
“Postmasters across the UK have warned that Westminster’s approach will mean higher prices, a poorer service and put the universal service obligation, that protects rural communities, at risk.
“People in Alloa, Cumbernauld, East Kilbride, Perth and Stornoway whose post offices are currently under threat of closure from Westminster, will find these claims simply ridiculous.
“The reality is, that when a majority of Scottish MPs opposed steps to prepare the Royal Mail for privatisation yet Westminster is ploughing ahead regardless, damaging an essential public service and selling it off for private profit it is clear that a Yes vote is the only way to protect postal services for Scotland.”