Post Office sell-off plans condemned

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A SCOTTISH Parliament hopeful has angrily condemned plans by the UK government to sell off the Royal Mail.

SNP councillor Angus MacDonald, who is standing as a candidate for Falkirk East, says he’ll make the future of the postal network a key campaign issue in Falkirk East.

Last week, MPs passed the Postal Services Bill which could see the vast majority of the company sold into foreign ownership.

Now, the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition has come under attack from local politicians.

Mr MacDonald said: “This is the wrong decision at the worst possible time, and will put delivery services as well as the future of local post office branches under threat.

“This is yet another betrayal by Lib Dem MPs which will haunt them at the Holyrood elections.

“Privatisation not only threatens the future of deliveries, jobs and services but also the sustainability of the post office network which has already seen closures under the last Labour government.

“It is inevitable that the pressures from a fully-privatised Royal Mail, operated for profit and not public service, will lead to a reduction in the universal service obligation.

“The impact of cuts will be worst felt by rural communities in the outlying areas of Falkirk district.”

Michael Connarty, the Labour MP for Linlithgow and East Falkirk, who spoke in Parliament about the issue, said the Bill attacked one of the fundamental structures of our local communities.

He said: “This is one of the nastiest things that the government will ever do to the people of the UK.

“Already, 900 post offices are up for sale, and many others are long-term temporarily closed.

“Even in the market-driven USA, there was still a full scale public postal service which they accept as a service to their communities supported by government funds.”

Under the proposals, which have yet to be approved by the House of Lords, employees would get at least 10 per cent of shares in the company.

The business would then be separated from the Post Office which would remain publicly-owned.