Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Government Postpones Royal Mail Sell-Off Plan

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Government Postpones Royal Mail Sell-Off Plan

Article excerpt

PART-PRIVATISATION of the Royal Mail will not go ahead as planned because of the depressed state of the economy, Business Secretary Lord Mandelson announced yesterday.

Lord Mandelson told the Lords that there was "no prospect" of the sale occuring in the current economic climate.

A delay in the controversial sell-off, which is opposed by many Labour MPs, had been expected after Lord Mandelson said on Monday that his Postal Services Bill was being "jostled" for space in the legislative programme.

Yesterday he told peers that the state of the economy made it "impossible" to obtain value for money for the taxpayer. But he added: "When market conditions change, we will return to the issue."

Ministers had argued that private sector money was needed to secure the future of the Royal Mail, which is facing a pension deficit of up to pounds 8bn.

They hoped to find a private partner willing to take a stake in the company to fund much-needed modernisation. …

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