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6 March 2007

Stevenson Opposes Royal Mail Move To Restrict Universal Service Obligation

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has spoken out against Royal Mail’s recent proposal to restrict the Universal Services Obligation (USO) to deliver anywhere in the UK for the same price. The proposed cut-back which affects business mail would see companies paying more to send mail to remote areas such as the North-east.

Speaking at a briefing for MSPs arranged by PostComm, the postal services regulator, Mr Stevenson registered his opposition to the move and outlined the implications for people living in rural areas.

Speaking at the briefing Mr. Stevenson said;

“To lose the Universal Service Obligation would be a severe body blow to rural areas. I say this with regard to mail going to and coming from rural regions. This cut-back will affect not only the people in country areas but also the businesses and when you disadvantage local businesses you threaten the whole viability of rural communities.

“Residents of remote areas should not be penalised for where they live. Access to postal services should be universal and uniform across the country regardless of postcode or the distance one lives from a town.

“In Aberdeenshire 57% of the population lives in rural areas – a higher proportion than any other council in Scotland. If this proposal goes ahead it will seriously marginalise these people and place them on the periphery of the postal network.

“I am sorely disappointed with this latest move by Royal Mail to further downgrade postal services in rural Scotland. I intend to do all in my power to oppose this proposal, beginning with submitting a response to the Department of Trade and Industry Consultation on the issue.”

Stewart Stevenson
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