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Direct Mail: Finance

Volume 467: debated on Thursday 15 November 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform on the (a) financial value of direct mail to Royal Mail and (b) potential impact on Royal Mail’s revenues of the introduction of an enforced opt-in system for direct mail; (164143)

(2) what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the potential impact on the income of the charitable sector of the introduction of an opt-in system for direct mail.

[holding answer 14 November 2007]: The Waste Strategy for England 2007 commits the Government to exploring with the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) whether an opt-in system would be an appropriate mechanism to further reduce unnecessary direct mail. My officials have recently begun discussions on this with the DMA but it is too early for any conclusions to have been reached. My officials also plan to hold discussions with the Royal Mail and with other interested parties on this issue.

If discussions with the DMA and others suggest that an opt-in system for direct mail would be a practicable and effective way of reducing unwanted direct mail, the Government would put forward draft proposals and hold a full and open consultation on them with all interested parties, including of course the Royal Mail and the charitable sector. Before introducing any new system, and as part of these consultations, an impact assessment would be prepared setting out the anticipated costs and benefits for those affected.