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Royal Mail

Volume 510: debated on Thursday 3 June 2010

It is for individual Government Departments and public bodies to decide which mail carrier to use, having regard for the most efficient and cost-effective ways of sending their mail. Given the public sector deficit that the Government inherited, that must be the right way forward.

Several Departments do not use Royal Mail, but outsource to firms such as DX Group, which, of course, means that the public purse is not recompensed. Surely if we are to safeguard Royal Mail and the Post Office, we ought to do more to help them.

I am sorry to disappoint my hon. Friend, but it is very important that we use the competitive mail market to get the best value for the taxpayer. It is crucial that we abide by public procurement rules, and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills will not tell other Departments and public bodies how to procure their mail services.

I received 12 mailings from one organisation that has had a lot of state money in recent years, and some of my constituents received up to 30 mailings. Will the Minister have a word with some of his colleagues, because they all love to talk about how they support the Post Office, but when the Tory party and Lord Ashcroft funded those direct mailings, none was delivered through the Royal Mail? Will he have a word with those hypocrites, and every time they talk about the Post Office, remind them of that?

Order. Just before the hon. Gentleman replies from the Dispatch Box, I should say that I know he will want to keep his answer within order, and that as far as I am aware, the Conservative party is not a public sector body.

Thank you for that helpful advice, Mr Speaker.

The hon. Member for Bassetlaw (John Mann) has always been known in the House for his modest use of language and his cross-party spirit, and I am sure he will want to ensure that all trade unions that fund mailings use Royal Mail.