Archive for Royal Mail

Tom warns that Royal Mail share sell off could damage Teesside’s and East Cleveland’s postal service

Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland has warned that George Osborne’s sale of the government’s shares in the Royal Mail could threaten Post Office branches and harm local businesses.

The universal service obligation guarantees a 6 day delivery to ever address in the UK at a uniform tariff.

Tom said:
“The Royal mail universal service obligation could be Osborne’s first victim this parliament as the Tories scramble to find the money they need to fulfil their unfunded election promises.

“The sale of the government’s reaming shares in the Royal Mail will put the universal service obligation under even more pressure as shareholders will demand more cost cutting. This could leave the more remote areas of Teesside and East Cleveland with a second rate postal service.

“Small businesses in my constituency rely on a universal Royal Mail to provide a quick and affordable delivery service to their customers across the country, this sell-off will threaten that and could put business under threat or cause unwanted price rises.

“We must safeguard the future of the universal postal service, and ministers must urgently give assurances on the future of Royal Mail’s services and what action they will be taking to defend the USO and to ensure this cherished service is not lost forever.

“I will be writing to the Minister to seek assurances that this move will not affect the delivery offices at Coulby Newham, Guisborough and Skelton and Post offices across the constituency.”

‘Real risk that Royal Mail universal service obligation is under threat’

Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, Tom Blenkinsop, has today (19th November 2014) warned that the future of the Universal Service Obligation (USO) is at risk.

Tom said:
“This warning from Royal Mail is a deeply concerning development and comes after consumers have already been hit with changes in collection times, with many last collections moving earlier in the day at the same time as stamp prices have risen.

“The unwanted sell-off the Royal Mail that cost taxpayers £1 Billion by the Tory-led government has put the essential services which consumers and small businesses rely on at risk. Government ministers have repeatedly said that the USO would not be under threat, yet David Cameron’s promises to protect services are looking less and less credible by the day.

“Labour is clear that we must safeguard the future of the universal postal service, and ministers must urgently give assurances on the future of Royal Mail’s services and what action they will be taking to defend the USO and to ensure this cherished service is not lost forever.”

New report confirms botched privatisation of the Royal Mail by Coalition

A scathing report from the National Audit Office (NAO) released today (1st April 2014) confirms that the Coalition government’s botched Royal Mail fire sale has left the taxpayer disgracefully short changed by hundreds of millions of pounds claims local Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop.

Commenting on the report, Tom said:
“It is now beyond doubt that Coalition Ministers have seriously messed up in their determination to privatise the Royal Mail; allowing their friends in the City to make a quick buck whilst taxpayers and vital services are losing out on millions of pounds.

“Over the first five months of trading the share price of the Royal Mail has shot up by 72% and this news comes days after they announced it was axing more than 1,600 staff, whilst customers will see another hike in stamp prices.

“Labour raised concerns that the full value of Royal Mail’s property portfolio was not being reflected but the government dismissed this at the time. Today’s report shows how erroneous their actions have been.

“Ministers have serious questions to answer over the hundreds of millions of pounds they have lost British taxpayers and they must not be allowed to shirk responsibility for what has happened.”

Hands off the peoples Royal Mail

Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, today (10th July 2013) reacted to the news that the Coalition Government will today be announcing the formal privatisation of the Royal Mail.

Tom said:
“This is a privatisation too far; even Margaret Thatcher rejected such a move. Nonetheless today we see a government driven more by a blinkered ideology than simple common sense announcing that the Royal Mail will be made a PLC and become a plaything of the money markets and the stock m rather than a public service.

“The Government try to say that the postal obligation of a daily mail delivery will stay, but refuse to say how much this will cost the householder or local business.

“I am also concerned that in a drive to the bottom to reduce costs, a privatised Royal Mail will try to slim down the number of delivery offices. In my constituency we have three – Skelton, Guisborough and Coulby Newham. We have already had to fight alongside postal workers at Guisborough to stop closure, a fight that was won. But I fear that this issue may come back if the Royal Mail falls into private hands. If it does it would be a betrayal to the general public as well as to the men and women who pound the streets to see that our letters and parcels are delivered on time.  This proposal is one that we have fought against and one where the fight will continue.”

Anger over “plush offices” as stamp rise looms

Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, today (24th April 2012) expressed anger following revelations in a national newspaper that Royal Mail executives had paid out £1 million for luxury offices and furnishings, whilst staff are being made redundant and the stamp price hike is now less than a week away.

Tom said:

“Frankly these latest revelations are disgraceful. We’ve been told of the cuts that need to be made following the loss of £41 million from its letters and parcels division but it seems pretty obvious that the burden is being shifted onto customers and lower level staff. Meanwhile, executives in their plush offices overlooking the Thames have spent £100, 000 on ‘Italian chairs’.

“This is a slap in the face to many people in my constituency who will be hit hard once the new stamp prices come into effect from Monday. In particular pensioners for whom sending a letter is the only way they can keep in touch with distant relatives.”

Colin Bowmaker, Guisborough postal worker and Communication Workers Union representative, said:

“The double standards shown by Royal Mail executives are unacceptable. We fought a long campaign to keep Guisborough Sorting Office open and we now face a similar situation for the one in South Bank. All the while hundreds of thousands of pounds has been spent on luxury furnishings and flights abroad for London executives.”

“Cancel this postage stamp sale nonsense” – Tom Blenkinsop

Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, today (13th April 2012) called on Royal Mail bosses and government ministers to get together to ‘sort out once and for all’ the current confusion over the sale of postage stamps.

There are stories today of stamp rationing by post offices and supermarkets after Royal Mail are limiting the supply of stamps prior to the price rise.   From April 30, a first-class stamp will go up by 30 per cent from 46p to 60p. A second-class stamp will rise by 39 per cent, from 36p to 50p.

Tom said:

“Ahead of this date people are obviously buying stamps in bulk.  However we now hear that large retailers like Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons are being told that they will not be fully restocked to meet this demand.

“To me this looks like the economics of the madhouse, and a strong suspicion that Royal Mail have set in train a ‘stamp stampede’, only to then restrict demand until the new prices are in place – and therefore make windfall profits.  This, I feel, is a harbinger of what a privatised Royal Mail will look like.

“Labour’s shadow business team have called for this to be investigated by OFCOM.  I support this, as such practices as this will hurt many older people for whom post is their only communication lifeline, and small businesses in my constituency who are big mail users.  I am sure OFCOM will come down hard on such naked profiteering and I would call on Royal Mail to accept this, to talk to government and to look again at their price rise strategy.”

Royal Mail Increase in Cost of Postage Stamps ‘Is Totally Self-Defeating’

Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, today (27th March 2012) hit out at an announcement by Royal Mail that they would be increasing the price of postage stamps.

A first-class stamp will rise in price from 46p to 60p from 30 April after the OFCOM regulator lifted some price controls on Royal Mail. a second-class stamp will go up from 36p to 50p.

Tom said “This is a self-defeating move, and one aided and abetted by OFCOM who have allowed Royal Mail the freedom to set stamp prices. It also is a grim harbinger of what we can all expect if the government’s plans to fully privatise Royal Mail come about.

For many elderly people without access to e-mail and computers, sending letters and cards to their nearest and dearest is their only method of communication – and they will be especially hard hit. It will also mean that many more people will be turning to e-mail, and this, in itself, will only exacerbate Royal Mail’s cash flow problems.

It is quite clear that this is a self-defeating measure and will almost certainly be followed by further hikes in postage costs.”

Tom Blenkinsop fears that Government will end VAT exemption on postal services

Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, has expressed his fear that the Government will privatise postal services and end the VAT exemption which will make it more expensive for customers and ultimately put post offices out of business.

TNT Post, who have been keen to buy a significant stake in Royal Mail since the Government opened the door to privatisation, have been campaigning to remove the VAT exemption on postal services.

Tom said: “If the Government get their way with our postal services, companies like TNT will be able to buy a significant stake in Royal Mail and their influence will inevitably increase. They are determined to remove the VAT exemption, even taking the issue to the European Court of Justice, which would inevitably make postal services more expensive for the consumer and could put many local post offices out of business.”

“This is another example of the Government’s casual disregard for the important role local post offices play in their communities.”

“Jubilation” at news Guisborough Mail Delivery Office will be staying open

Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, Tom Blenkinsop, today (3rd December 2011) said he was ‘jubilant’ that Royal Mail had decided not, after all, to close the Guisborough Mail Office.

Tom said “I have now been told via the Communication Workers Union who have been contacted by local management that the depot is now safe. I’m jubilant.”

“There was an huge uproar in the town when the original closure proposal was tabled. Local people and businesses were rightly concerned that this would mean a poorer mail service for the town, and that they would be faced with a long two way trip to and from Redcar to pick up undelivered parcels. At the same time, the dedicated team of workers at the centre feared – at worse – for their jobs and their quality of their working life if they were to be transferred away from their home depot.”

“What was striking about this battle was the way it united the town. I want to thank all those all backed the struggle to keep the centre open – above all the staff and their Trade Union, the Communications Workers Union. I also want to thank local people for backing the fight, local businesses – especially Guisborough Town Football Club – who dedicated a home game to the cause of saving the centre – and local Labour Councillors Denise Bunn, Bill Suthers, David Williams and Joe Keeenan.”

“This is a victory for Guisborough, but is also an object lesson on how we can beat the cuts being imposed on local communities by the Government and by agencies and businesses – like the Royal Mail – who are aping these cuts.”

“This is a day to celebrate. Labour and the local community delivers”

“Save our Guisborough mail centre” petition to launch in House of Commons

Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland Labour MP, will be presenting a petition signed by over 5,000 local people from Guisborough and the East Cleveland area, and calling for the retention of the Guisborough Royal Mail Postal Centre in the town.  He will be presenting the petition and speaking to it on the floor of the House of Commons tomorrow night (the 9th November 2011).

This centre has been threatened with closure and its facilities being transferred to Redcar.

Tom said “Local people and local businesses, rightly, are concerned that this will mean a worse postal service in general – especially in bad weather – and that they will have to make up to a 10 mile round trip to pick up parcels or registered mail that could not be delivered as they were out when the postman or woman called.”

“Since this proposal was announced by the Royal Mail Group a petition sponsored by the Communication Workers Union has gone round the town and has been signed by over 5,000 people, a protest rally has been held and the backing of the local football club was given in a match sponsored by the club and dedicated to keeping the centre open.”

“This proposal, alas, is all part of a piece with the dismemberment of the Post Office and Royal Mail network, with the government only seemingly interested in preparing it for privatisation and a rapid sell off to overseas predators.”

“All this comes only a year after Vince Cable and Ed Davey, ministers of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, put their names to what they called the “Securing the Post Office Network in the Digital Age”.  Some securing, as we have seen mail cutbacks across the country, and with the Post Office business across the country losing contracts for benefit transfer payments.  Now, in the same week as I am putting in this petition, we see the loss of the National Savings Bank link with local post offices with the effect that up to 2,600,000 people may no longer operate their accounts through a local Post Office branch.”

“The writing may look like it is on the wall, but I am still fighting to keep Royal Mail facilities open in Guisborough, and with the backing of local people and the Communication Workers Union who represent the loyal staff at the centre, we can still win that victory.”