Friday, 27 September 2013

Councillors back Royal Mail - but Council uses TNT for letter deliveries

A Motion opposing the privatisation of Royal Mail was unanimously passed by North Ayrshire councillors last Wednesday (September 18) only for it to emerge that the local authority uses private mail firm TNT for most of its day-to-day deliveries.

The Motion, proposed by SNP Council Leader Willie Gibson and seconded by Labour Group Leader Peter McNamara, welcomed the ‘Save Our Royal Mail’ campaign and stated, “This Council recognises that Royal Mail is a National institution formed in 1512 and provides a one price goes anywhere, next day delivery, universal service.  We are concerned that everyone, including millions of small businesses and rural communities who are most reliant on the service, would be hit by rising prices and by the undoubted reduction in services for the people who need those services the most.”

In addition, the Motion indicated the Council would formally sign the ‘Save Our Royal Mail’ petition “to put pressure on the Government to reverse its decision and protect the country’s postal services”.

All 28 councillors present at the meeting agreed the terms of the Motion, which was passed without dissent.

However, it subsequently transpired that for normal day-to-day deliveries of letters, North Ayrshire Council has a contract with private company TNT, the main contender for postal contracts should the UK Government press ahead with privatisation of Royal Mail.

A spokesperson for the local authority explained the position, “The Council uses both Royal Mail and TNT for mail services.  We use Royal Mail for special and recorded deliveries and TNT for the collection and management of most of our normal day-to-day mail.

“Part of our payment to TNT also goes to the Royal Mail - which delivers items on TNT's behalf.

“The TNT contract was approved by the Scottish Government through a contract framework and provides the best possible value while maintaining quality of service. For example, the rate paid to TNT for second class mail is more than 40-percent cheaper than the equivalent cost of a second class stamp.

“In the last financial year, the Council spent £199,000 with TNT and £98,000 with Royal Mail.”

the3towns understands Cllr Gibson and Cllr McNamara only became aware of the local authority’s contract with TNT last Tuesday, the day before the Council meeting.  Both councillors are believed to have strongly-supported pressing ahead with the Motion to show political cross-party support for retaining Royal Mail in public ownership.

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