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7th May 2008
MEDIA RELEASE

Graham Cooper, MD of ONEPOST, responds to the initial response to evidence published by the independent panel appointed by BERR (Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform) to conduct an independent review of the postal services sector; “The challenges and opportunities facing UK postal services”.

“The review by an independent panel will report to Ministers under the following terms of reference

1. Assess the impacts to date of liberalisation of the UK postal services market, including on the Royal Mail, alternative carriers and consumers.
2. Explore trends in future market development and the likely impact of these on Royal Mail, alternative carriers and consumers
3. Consider how to maintain the Universal Service Obligation in the light of trends and market developments identified

The findings published by BERR are in relation to the terms of reference 1 and 2. It is currently seeking submissions for the third point of reference.

The vision is that the UK benefits from a strong, competitive, innovative and cost effective postal services market focused on meeting the needs of its customers.

Key points are noted as follows:-

• Full competition commenced in 2006 and this has grown even faster than the regulator anticipated.
• Maintaining the Universal Service is at the heart of the reviewer.
• There is virtually no competition to Royal Mail in the delivery of addressed mail (‘the final mile’) with Royal Mail still handling 99%.
• There are no significant benefits from liberalisation for smaller businesses or domestic consumers, but a member of the independent panel reflects that there are parallels with the Telecomms market where it took considerably longer than two years for the market to offer solutions.
• There is a belief that a healthy, efficient and profitable Royal Mail is critically important for the future of the postal sector.
• There are significant challenges in financial terms to Royal Mail including funding the Universal Service and the pension deficit.
• Based on the evidence submitted to date, the independent panel concludes that the status quo is not tenable and that there is a strong case for action.

Further submissions from stakeholders by 19th May will help shape recommendations on potential future courses of action.

We are pleased to have made a contribution to this valuable review via our involvement with the DMA. This confirms that benefits of liberalisation have been experienced by large businesses – in time this will impact on the smaller businesses and domestic consumers who have not experienced any significant benefit to date. We await with interest the recommendations of the full report”

For more information please contact Tina Stanley, Tina Stanley & Associates PR, Tel/fax 01491 410250 or email tina@tinastanleyassoc.com

Photo of Graham Cooper, MD of ONEPOST, is attached.

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