Royal Mail shares sell off announced Print
News - Politics
Thursday, 23 September 2010 11:09

UK Business Secretary Vince Cable has announced that at least 10% of the shares in Royal Mail will go to its employees.
 
It will be the largest employee shares scheme of any privatisation for 25 years in terms of the number of workers who will benefit, second only to the privatisation of British Telecom in 1984.
 
The percentage being allocated to employees is also potentially one of the largest, larger than BT, British Gas or British Airways. This new commitment will be written in to the Postal Services Bill, which the Government plans to introduce in the autumn, Cable said.
 
‘I want to take action to secure the future of two cornerstones of British life, Royal Mail and the Post Office. The much valued Post Office is not for sale and there will be no repeat of the previous closure programmes,’ he pledged
 
‘But Royal Mail is a different business, with different challenges. It is struggling under the weight of some huge pressures: pressure from email and falling mail volumes; pressure from a dire pension position; pressure from a lack of money to invest,’ Cable explained.
 
‘The only way to save it for the future is to bring in new private capital to support the ongoing modernisation and growth opportunities. This will bring new commercial disciplines and the enormous public sector deficit means that the taxpayer does not have an endless supply of money to meet the company's investment needs,’ he continued.
 
‘We also have to tackle the multi billion pound pension deficit and put in place lighter touch regulation that gives the company a good chance in the market and protects the universal postal service that so many of us depend on,’ he added.
 
The Bill will draw heavily on the analysis and recommendations made by Richard Hooper as part of his report on saving the Royal Mail’s universal service in the digital age. He made three main recommendations: a new less burdensome regulatory framework with responsibility for regulation moving from Postcom to Ofcom; the pension deficit should be taken over by the Government as part of the wider range of measures; and private sector capital must be introduced into Royal Mail in the form of sale to a partner/trade investor or an IPO.