Do people want Royal Mail?

John Mann MP (w110610-3c)
John Mann MP (w110610-3c)

Do people still want a Royal Mail? According to the hundreds of postcards that have been flooding into my office recntly, Bassetlaw does.

And I understand why.

The Royal Mail is a part of our heritage, and an institution that many people - myself included - rely on.

Yet again an important service is being sold off for profit, with no real benefit to customers, workers, or taxpayers.

Just like you can’t put a price on getting a letter through the door from a friend or loved one, you can’t put a price on the Royal Mail.

The Queen’s head on every letter delivered is a quality guarantee that will undoubtedly be destroyed with the introduction of shareholders and profit.

I’ve heard some politicians in London ask, “What difference will it really make?” A typical response from the people who don’t lick their own envelopes.

For them, nothing will change - whatever happens, post will get delivered to the House of Commons.

But what about the small businesses that will struggle to pay the considerably higher rates?

Or the elderly grandparents living in the countryside who already struggle to stay in touch with their families as everything moves online?

And that’s not to mention the crucial support currently guaranteed to vulnerable customers and our service men and women.

As your MP, I am elected to represent the interests of Bassetlaw.

Collectively, MPs are also elected to organise the key services that individuals cannot manage themselves - water, power, post, defence, healthcare...

In doing this, we must ensure that no group gets a worse or better deal than any other in our society.

Just imagine getting to the counter in Worksop with a letter for Penzance, and being told you have to pay triple what it costs to send one to Durham.

Or paying a premium for your letters just because you live in the countryside.

And you know it won’t be long before twice-daily post becomes post once-every-two-days.

It’s important to remember that people are also becoming increasingly reliant on mobile phones, with banking and purchases all taking place in the palm of your hand.

Studies say that these developments, though positive, will leave elderly people even more isolated.

Royal Mail was always the best outreach strategy to support those who struggled with new technology, but privatisation could well remove this last safety net.

These are important considerations that the Government seems to have ignored in their rush to flog off the postal service to the highest bidder.

It is clear to me that towns like Worksop and Retford would get the raw end of the deal, while other areas won’t notice much difference.

Perhaps the House of Commons should live with the equivalent of a privatised rural postal service for a week and see how well things go.

What is even more puzzling to me is that the Royal Mail makes a profit. £403 million to be precise.

It is an asset to the UK, worth an estimated £20 billion.

Maybe you like to receive electronic presents, but I know that if I bought my wife some virtual roses on Valentine’s Day, she wouldn’t be slow in telling me where I could stick them.

Because of her, and because of all of you, I’m saying that Royal Mail is not for sale.

Do you agree with Mr Mann’s comments about the Royal Mail? Email newsroom@worksop-guardian.co.uk