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Royal Mail

Volume 534: debated on Thursday 27 October 2011

As I made clear during the passage of the Postal Services Act 2011, we are taking a staged approach to its implementation. Before decisions can be taken on private sector investment, the regulatory regime must be reformed and the Government must secure approval to take on Royal Mail’s historical pension deficit and restructure its balance sheet. Progress is being made in these areas, alongside Royal Mail’s progress with its modernisation plan.

I thank the Minister for his reply. Will he therefore tell the House exactly how much the Government value the assets in the Post Office pension fund at this moment, how much will be transferred to the Treasury and what will be left in the assets of the pension fund thereafter?

The hon. Gentleman will know, having been in the House a long time, that we would not make a valuation while working with the European Commission to secure state aid clearance. Until we get that, those sorts of calculations would be completely inappropriate.

As part of the deregulation process prior to the sale, we can expect a reasonable rise in stamp prices, which are currently the second lowest in Europe, despite the fact that we have the highest delivery specification. Does my hon. Friend agree that it is ironic that the Labour party now criticises us for remedying the problems that it created through its regulation procedures?

During the passage of the Postal Services Act, we heard a lot of criticism of the regulatory regime that the Labour party put in place. We put in a much stronger regime, which has been greatly welcomed.