In a rare show of political unity, the leaders of SNP and Labour councillors in North Ayrshire are to table a motion opposing UK Government plans to privatise the Royal Mail.
The SNP’s Willie Gibson (Saltcoats & Stevenston) will move the motion at this week’s Council meeting (September 18) and will receive the backing of Labour’s Peter McNamara (Ardrossan & Arran).
The joint motion gives the Council’s support to the ‘Save Our Royal Mail’ campaign and states, “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.”
Councillors will be asked to agree that North Ayrshire Council formally signs the ‘Save our Royal Mail’ petition in order to “put pressure on the Government to reverse its decision and protect the country’s postal services”. In addition, the motion seeks agreement for Cllr Gibson, Leader of the Council, to write to Vince Cable MP, the UK Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, conveying the Council’s opposition to privatisation plans.
Local Labour MP Katy Clark has been one of the most vocal opponents of the Tory-Lib Dem Government’s proposal to sell-off Royal Mail. In June Ms Clark led a Westminster Hall debate on the subject, and earlier this month also played a prominent role during further House of Commons deliberations on the impact Royal Mail privatisation would have on rural communities. Later, Ms Clark told the3towns, “I believe the privatisation of Royal Mail will be a massive mistake. If it proceeds, I believe the six-day delivery service could be under threat. The Government claim the universal service is enshrined in law, but many aspects of the universal service obligation are set by the regulator and can be easily changed. The track record of the regulator to date does not inspire confidence. We already know they are allowing TNT to cherry-pick services in London, employing staff on zero-hour contracts with far worse terms and conditions and with lower standards of service to undercut Royal Mail.”
The MP for North Ayrshire & Arran cautioned, “No other country in the world has attempted to do what the Government is doing, which is to separate the mail service from the post office network.”