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Countryside shocked by Royal Mail threat to end Universal Service Obligation

Could this be more profiteering from Royal Mail now that they are responsible to shareholders?

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The CLA, which represents landowners, farmers and rural businesses, has said the threat from the Chief Executive of Royal Mail to end its obligation to deliver and collect post six days a week would cause serious harm to those who live and work in the countryside.

CLA President Henry Robinson said: “The daily post is, and must remain, an intrinsic part of rural life. Without it, rural services, which are already under significant strain, will be seriously undermined.

“Any suggestion that Royal Mail is seeking to amend, or possibly abolish the Universal Service Obligation (USO) in the future, is a serious threat to everyone living and working in the countryside.”

Mr Robinson added that he will be writing to Ofcom calling for them to seriously consider the extension of USO to other operators in the postal market.

He said: “We recognise that a company like Royal Mail must seek to generate profit. However, this has to be addressed through achieving fair competition not removing a vital service from rural consumers.”

In response to this story, a spokesman for Royal Mail clarified,

” Royal Mail are certainly not threatening to end the universal service obligation. The USO is protected by law and only Parliament can change the minimum requirements (6 day a week delivery, universal price to all addresses whether urban or rural). We are not asking Parliament to change this – we are very proud to deliver the USO everywhere, six days a week.”

“What we are saying is that Ofcom need to review the threat that does exist to the USO from direct delivery competition in urban areas. Competitors cherry-picking easy urban deliveries undermines Royal Mail’s cross-subsidy funding framework that allows us to continue to deliver to remote and rural areas. We are asking Ofcom to look at what they can do to protect this, not to change the USO.”

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