Weir slams Ofcom decision as “bad news” for rural business

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Angus MP Mike Weir has slammed the decision by Ofcom to take no action to protect Royal Mail’s Universal Service Obligation.

The communications watchdog recently said it would not change rules obliging Royal Mail to deliver across the UK for one price. The Communcations Workers Union has since called for a judicial review of the decision.

Mr Weir said the decision is “bad news” for rural business and a “slap in the face” for postal workers, especially at this busy time of year.

He said: “It is utterly incredible that Ofcom do not consider that there is a growing threat to the Universal Service Obligation through the way in which competitors are cherry-picking profitable urban routes without taking any part in delivering to more rural areas.

“Ofcom are obsessed with the idea of ‘competition’ but there is no such competition, nor is there ever likely to be, in rural areas such as Angus. They maintain that Royal Mail still deliver the majority of the letter mail, but totally fail to take into account the substantial plans for expansion which could see rapid expansion in numbers but only to a small part of the country, in effect the major urban areas where the majority of the population live.”

Mr Weir also said the watchdog is “utterly unable to comprehend” that the USO is of particular importance to businesses in rural areas and that any threat to it would prove disastrous to the rural economy.

He said: “Ofcom’s obsession with competition runs to calling for more ‘efficiencies’ from Royal Mail. That is too often code for attacks on employees’ terms and conditions and reductions in services. This is completely unacceptable and a slap in the face for postal workers, especially at this time of the year.

“We have recently seen several changes in Post Office services in Angus and we cannot afford now to have our delivery services put at threat.”