“Wrong end of the telescope”: Carmichael rejects suggested cut to mail delivery service

24 Jan 2024

Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today condemned proposals from Ofcom which could see cuts to the universal service obligation for letter post by Royal Mail. A report from Ofcom said the postal service was "getting out of date" and proposed reducing the number of days it delivers letters from six per week to five or even three, under proposals to reform the service. Ofcom said another option would be extending the number of days it takes for most letters to be delivered.

The company is legally obliged to deliver a universal service, which means it currently has to deliver letters six days per week, Monday to Saturday, and parcels Monday to Friday. Reforming the postal service by cutting delivery days would require Parliament to change the current legislation.

The Prime Minister has said today that the government was “absolutely committed” to ensuring the Royal Mail’s universal service obligations remained as they were.

Mr Carmichael said:

“The problems of Royal Mail are for the most part to do with poor management and dreadful industrial relations. Those fundamental facts will not be altered even if these changes were to be made.

“The regulator is looking down the wrong end of the telescope. Ofcom will not fix company failings by punishing the customers and communities that depend on it. Regulation is there to protect the people first.

“Royal Mail is a private company but it also has a specific remit as the “last mile” service provider – Ofcom and the government must continue to keep a tight hand on this matter. I am glad that the government has indicated that they will block proposals to cut the universal service obligation but we need to see a long term strategy to back that up.”

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