- Posted by: Joyce Watson MS
- Category: Feature
Selling Royal Mail will be “disastrous” for rural postal services, Assembly Member Joyce Watson has warned.
Speaking at first minister’s questions on Tuesday, the Mid and West Labour AM said the proposed sell-off threatens the survival of village post offices.
“It is the same old Tory story,” Mrs Watson said, “break it up, sell it off, massive job cuts, worse services, a quick buck, and long-term price rises. My worry is that the financial stability of post offices in rural villages will be put under serious strain.”
Last month Business Secretary Vince Cable confirmed that the UK government will sell Royal Mail through a flotation on the London Stock Exchange, possibly in the autumn.
Mrs Watson asked whether the Welsh Government will “cushion the blow”.
The first minister replied:
“We have, as a Government, provided support for post offices over time with the post office development and post office diversification funds. Post offices have benefitted from about £1 million every year in business rates relief paid by the Welsh Government as well.
“However, the great challenge is to ensure that post offices continue to have a business base, because, over the years, that business base, quite often because of different behaviour among the population, has been whittled away.”