The privatisation of Royal Mail has come a step closer after MPs approved the Postal Services Bill.
Business secretary Vince Cable said: “Upon taking office the government realised it had to move swiftly to tackle the challenges facing Royal Mail and the Post Office to ensure the future of the important services they both provide. We’re absolutely determined to secure the future of these two proud institutions.”
The Bill opens the way for private sector investment in Royal Mail, though as least ten per cent of the shares in the business will go to its employees.
Having completed its passage through the House of Commons, the bill now has to go to the Lords.
The privatised business will be required to provide a universal postal services – in particular collection and delivery of post six days a week at uniform, affordable prices are written into the Bill.
The taxpayer will continue to be responsible for the pension deficit.
The Post Office branch network is not included in the privatisation, although there are proposals to convert it into a mutual structure.
Minister for postal affairs Edward Davey said: “MPs from all parties have taken a fine tooth comb to our plans and the many hours of rigorous debate have helped to improve our legislation. We’re convinced that our approach is the right one and look forward to the debates which will soon take place in the Lords.”