North East MSP Alison McInnes has underlined her concerns about the threat to Royal Mail’s deliver-everywhere service from its rivals.
Sir Robert Smith, Liberal Democrat MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, has tabled a motion at Westminster raising concerns about the sustainability of Royal Mail’s universal service, as TNT Post UK develops its end-to-end delivery operations - and now Lib Dem MSP Alison McInnes is backing a similar motion in the Scottish Parliament.
The universal service relies on revenues from areas where mail services are easier to deliver, such as urban areas, in order to cover the costs of a nationwide network reaching rural and island hard-to-reach homes and businesses.
Both motions call on the media regulator Ofcom to undertake a review of end-to-end postal competition.
Commenting, Mrs McInnes said: “The review needs to ensure that cherry-picking does not threaten Royal Mail’s ability to provide a universal service across the UK.
“It is very profitable to only operate in densely-populated urban areas, but that could have very serious consequences in country areas.”
Sir Robert commented: “The universal postal service is vital to ensure communities and businesses up and down the country get deliveries six days a week at the same price regardless of location.
“It is important that competition is fair so that people in rural areas of the UK do not lose their access to Royal Mail’s services because of rival companies operating within easier to serve cities and cherry-picking cheaper to provide business. There needs to be a level playing field and fair competition.
“The regulator has a legal obligation to protect the universal service and by bringing forward its planned investigation Ofcom will find it easier to ensure that this vital service remains sustainable.”
TNT Post UK launched its first door-to-door mail delivery service in West London in April 2012. That service has now expanded within London, and expanded to Manchester last year. Its business mail delivery service delivers to homes three days per week.