Plaid Cymru MPs will today (27 October) attempt to stop Post Office privatisation in its tracks.
They are tabling an amendment to the Postal Services Bill. It calls for the Bill to go no further and not to be given a Second Reading. Plaid say that they aim to “prevent the spiralling privatisation agenda of the ConDem UK government”.
Plaid Cymru’s Hywel Williams MP has previously raised concerns about the consequences the Bill will have on the postal service in rural areas and the importance of maintaining the Universal Service Obligation for businesses.
The amendment insists that the Bill would harm services of vital importance to rural areas in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It “notes the importance that sub-post offices play in the delivery of postal services and believes the continuing uncertainty is undermining the confidence of sub-post masters”.
Plaid's amendment is unlikely to be accepted. But by proposing it, Plaid hope to draw attention to what they describe as a threat to “the services and businesses at the heart of our communities”. They have tabled the amendment with the support of MPs from Scotland and Northern Ireland.
“Rural Wales in particular is especially reliant on the services of the Royal Mail,” said Hywel Williams, “Any reduction to the Universal Service Obligation will seriously impact on the local economy”.
He added, “Of most importance to Wales is the need to ensure the continuation of the universal service provision which means that it costs the same to deliver a letter to any address in the UK”.
Williams said that it would be “illogical” for the UK government to change this, “especially while last year all four sections of the Royal Mail were in the black for the first time in twenty years and profits rose sharply in the most recent figures”.
He concluded, “This is why the Royal Mail, the only postal service providing this, is so important.”
Plaid Cymru, whose name means “Party of Wales” in Welsh, is a socialist party working towards an independent Wales within the European Union.