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Post Office

Volume 407: debated on Thursday 19 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions she has had with the managers of Royal Mail Group regarding the company's policy of transferring the transport of mail freight from rail to road and air; and if she will press the Royal Mail Group to review the decision to terminate its contract with EWS. [118710]

The Department meets Royal Mail on a regular basis to discuss a range of issues including progress on the transport review. That review envisaged a continuing role for rail freight. Royal Mail has, following protracted negotiations with EWS, concluded that it cannot now proceed on the basis it originally intended, for reasons of cost.The Government regret the loss of business for rail freight but stands by its policy that Royal Mail must have the freedom it needs to operate genuinely commercially.