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Save Morriston Crown Post Office

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The local post office is a focal point for the life of so many small towns and villages across the UK. Where pubs and other shops have disappeared, the post office has remained. But when that goes, the life of a village often disappears with it. Many small post offices have a fragile existence and rely upon Royal Mail for business to survive. Yet the 2001 Postal Services Act fully separates the Post Office Counters’ network from Royal Mail. The government will point to a recently signed business agreement between the two. But that cannot guarantee that a new, private owner, free to do as they choose, will honour that agreement in full. For example they may wish to re-negotiate its terms or move more of its business to other retail outlets. And the more cash that Royal Mail takes from post offices, the more will close. Prices will go up The £1 letter? Until 2012 stamp prices were subject to regulatory control. This meant that people and businesses were protected from excessive price rises. But to make Royal Mail more attractive to potential investors the government removed those controls. Overnight the price of a first class stamp rose from 46p to 60p – a whopping 30% increase and the biggest since 1975. As a private company, focused on increasing shareholder returns, Royal Mail will want more significant price increases. To make matters worse a privatised Royal Mail will be eventually be obliged to charge VAT on its services adding 12p to the cost of a first class stamp. With politicians unable to exert influence over a privatised Royal Mail just one more increase similar to the 2012 price rise will make a first class stamp 94p So the £1 letter really will not be far off. Business will be squeezed Many businesses are dependent on Royal Mail. The delivery of letters and parcels to any address in the UK is an engine on which our economy runs. For many small businesses, especially those in rural areas there is often no alternative to the Royal Mail. Suffering from high energy bills and other overheads, businesses can ill afford to see the cost of using the postal service shoot up. Yet that is precisely what will happen if Royal Mail is sold off. Free post for HM Armed Forces will be stopped Royal Mail provides a freepost service for British forces personnel. These letters and parcels from loved ones are vital for our armed forces. To receive personal items including cherished family photographs provides a major boost for those in combat. But a privately owned Royal Mail will not want to maintain this non-profit making service – and neither can it be compelled to. If we do not protect the public service ethos of Royal Mail, the free post lifeline to HM Forces will be scrapped. Heritage will be lost A few years ago Royal Mail attempted to rename itself Consignia. Fortunately the public outcry forced a u-turn. Its name, which dates back to 1635, is just a small part of the heritage of Royal Mail. The traditional red liveried vehicles, the use of Her Majesty’s head on stamps and the distinct pillar boxes are all part of the rich history of Royal Mail and a feature of our towns, cities and countryside. So were those iconic red GPO telephone boxes. The glue that binds this heritage together is the public service ethos of Royal Mail. Private businesses naturally seek to cut costs wherever possible. For example, it would be far more cost efficient to have European style tin post boxes instead of those expensive, big lumbering red pillar boxes. And if there is a desire to change Royal Mail’s name, similar re branding will no doubt result in the removal of Her Majesty’s head. That cannot happen while Royal Mail is publicly owned. But if run by private investors, Royal Mail’s heritage will soon go the way of those red telephone boxes.

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