This document builds on the review led by Richard Hooper, ‘Modernise or decline: policies to maintain the universal postal service in the United Kingdom’ (Dec. 2008, http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file49389.pdf). The Hooper review found deficiencies and problems with: performance (40 per cent less efficient than European counterparts); the pension deficit (one of the largest in Britain); pricing (increases would not generate enough revenue to offset falling volumes); industrial relations (60 per cent of days lost through industrial action in 2007 in the whole economy were accounted for by Royal Mail); and the relationship with the regulator, Postcomm (difficult). The Government proposes: a new regulatory framework, including transferring responsibility for regulation from Postcomm to Ofcom; tackling the pension deficit; inviting other postal or network operators to come forward with proposals to develop strategic partnerships with Royal Mail (but such arrangements would exclude Post Office Ltd, responsible for the network of post offices). The Postal Services Bill (HL), HL Bill 24, ISBN 9780108454530) published alongside this document sets out the proposals, placing the universal service as the overriding objective of the regulatory system. The Government will continue to provide for financial support for the universal service. Royal Mail will remain in the public sector.
This Command Paper was laid before Parliament by a Government Minister by Command of Her Majesty. Command Papers are considered by the Government to be of interest to Parliament but are not required to be presented by legislation.