Na h-Eileanan and Iar SNP MP, Angus Brendan MacNeil has responded to Ofcom’s consultation on ‘Securing the Universal Service Obligation’, amid concerns that the proposed changes could leave rural and remote communities with a second class postal service.

As part of a consultation on the future of the universal service obligation Ofcom are proposing to give Royal Mail full commercial freedom to determine contracts with large companies and other postal providers as to what they will charge for the final delivery of items.

Ofcom suggest there should be no cap on prices for the vast majority of Royal Mail’s services, including business post, bulk mail, and large letters and parcels sent second class.

Commenting, Angus MacNeil said:

‘I am very concerned with OfCom’s proposals.

‘OfCom want to remove price controls on first class stamps and raise prices on second class stamps.

‘These rises could disproportionately affect businesses in our community and, as we all know, large mainland companies are now charging customers in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland surcharges to get their packages.  OfCom and Royal Mail should not punish us a second time.

‘They seem to be more focused on generating cash than providing a quality service to the people of rural Scotland.

‘As the only universal service mail provider in the UK; Royal Mail and OfCom have a responsibility to all of its customers.

‘At present, they seemed to be overly focused on getting more companies to use their facilities for a price however; they never specified how this could affect the consumer.

‘So while more companies use Royal Mail facilities, prices to the consumer may not decrease in fact under the proposals they’ll undoubtedly increase.

‘As I stated in the consultation, “OfCom must remember that Royal Mail provides a universal service. This service, at present, is not replicated by any other provider therefore; keeping the quality of service delivered to the people high should be paramount.”