Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MP, Angus MacNeil says reports that taxpayers may be over £1 billion worse off as a result of the UK Government’s decision to sell-off Royal Mail well below estimates, is utterly shocking.

Mr MacNeil, who has long campaigned on Royal Mail and wider postal service issues, says the rush to privatisation has short-changed people in Na h-Eileanan an Iar, both in terms of the loss to taxpayers and the diminishing of what was a strongly supported public service.

Angus MacNeil MP said:

“If it transpires as reported that a billion pounds has been lost to the taxpayer then the UK Government has even more serious questions to answer about the privatisation of Royal Mail. The rush to sell of this well-supported public institution has been completely indefensible.

“People across our islands opposed the privatisation of Royal Mail, as did the SNP in parliament. The possible loss of a billion pounds in the value of the business makes it all the more shocking.

“We have asked many times why ministers choose to let go of the company’s shares at such a low rate? But – as yet -we have had no answers. The UK Government’s decision to privatise Royal Mail poses real danger to the postal service, and in particular, the Universal Service Obligation, which is of huge importance to in our islands.

“A privatised postal service in a competitive market will undoubtedly put pressure on government to reduce the terms of the Universal Service Obligation , as its competitors “cherry pick” the profitable urban routes leading to a reduced service in rural and less affluent areas.

“Figures have shown that 77 per cent of people in Scotland were totally opposed to the privatisation of Royal Mail – more than any other part of the UK. If these reports about undervaluing it are true, that figure can only increase. Only with independence can Scotland be assured of a mail service that meets the needs of our communities – and one which is brought back into public ownership.”

 Poll – 77% of people in Scotland oppose Royal Mail privatisation :