Whiteford raises concerns over rural post in Commons

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Banff and Buchan MP Dr Eilidh Whiteford has hit out at the UK Government’s plans to privatise Royal Mail. The local MP was speaking during a debate in the House of Commons on the future of rural postal provision.

Speaking during the debate, Dr Whiteford drew attention to the fact that rural communities relied heavily on the postal service, and that any change to the Universal Service Obligation would have a devastating impact on rural constituencies like Banff & Buchan.

Commenting afterwards, Eilidh said: “It is difficult to overstate just how important the Royal Mail is to residents and businesses in my constituency. In many areas of Banff & Buchan, the postal service is more than a service – it is a lifeline.

“Businesses in rural areas depend on a reasonably priced postal service. It is difficult to see how a privately owned and run business will be able to replicate the reach and cost effectiveness of the Royal Mail as it operates at present.

“By pushing ahead with these wildly unpopular privatisation plans, the UK Government is doing the country a profound disservice. I am hopeful that regulation of the privatised industry will preserve the Universal Service Obligation, however I am under no illusions that a privatised Royal Mail, operating in a privatised delivery market, will come under severe market pressure.

“I and many others have campaigned to keep the Royal Mail in public ownership. However, the UK Government are ideologically determined to push ahead with privatisation, and that being the case I seek to secure the next best thing – a permanent, cast iron commitment to the Universal Service Obligation.”