Jim Armitage: Big-city dispute will mostly affect quiet backwaters


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The Independent Online

Outlook Lord Howard’s beloved Lympne is a little Kent coast village with an end-of-the-road feel. Literally. It was built at the very end of the old Roman road to Canterbury.

It’s just the type of place where the six-days-a-week universal postal service could be at threat under the current storm from Royal Mail.

MPs on the Business Select Committee were given it with both guns yesterday, from TNT/Whistl on one side and Royal Mail on the other. TNT demanded that Mail continue running the universal service alone, while Mail insisted the likes of Whistl gobbling up its most lucrative routes was putting it in grave financial danger.

But why did nobody ask Royal Mail how much it is paying Westminster lobbyist Open Road for its extraordinarily successful campaign to make this rather esoteric dispute into one of the burning issues of the day? After all, taxpayers still own 30 per cent of the service. We deserve to know.