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Universal Service Obligation

Volume 404: debated on Thursday 1 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what recent representations she has received on the Royal Mail's universal service obligation; [109197](2) what recent discussions she has had with Royal Mail on the universal service obligation to rural and remote areas of Scotland. [109196]

DTI Ministers and officials regularly hold discussions with Royal Mail on strategic postal issues. The Government considers the maintenance of a universal postal service to be of the highest importance. Under the terms of the Postal Services Act 2000, universal service is a matter for the postal regulator (Postcomm), which has the primary statutory duty to ensure the provision of a universal postal service at an affordable uniform tariff, and for Royal Mail as the licence holder with the universal service obligation. Following a wide-ranging consultation. Postcomm has established its policy on when exceptions might be permitted, and identified where exceptions exist. This document is available on their website at Under this policy, exceptions to the universal service daily delivery can only be allowed in very specific and restricted circumstances.On 10 April, Postcomm launched a further three-month consultation to find out what users expect from the universal postal service currently provided by Royal Mail. All postal users are invited to comment on the universal service, to say what matters to them, and how they expect the service to develop. Again the information on this consultation can be obtained from Postcomm's website.