Coalition asks Hooper to look again at Royal Mail sale
Sunday 23 May 2010
Sir Richard Hooper, the brain behind Lord Mandelson's plans for a part-privatisation of the Royal Mail, has been approached by the new coalition Government to refresh his 2008 report.
Lord Mandelson's successor as Business Secretary, the Liberal Democrat Vince Cable, wants to honour his party's election pledge to sell a 49 per cent stake in the Royal Mail. The rest would be shared between Government and postal workers.
This goes further than Lord Mandelson's idea, which was to offload 30 per cent.
Sir Richard, a former deputy chairman of communications regulator Ofcom, led a review into the Royal Mail in late 2008, recommending a partnership with the private sector.
However, this led to strikes causing 30 million pieces of post to be delayed – workers believed that a part-privatisation could cost up to 50,000 jobs. Although there was significant private-sector interest, including from the Dutch postal giant TNT, Lord Mandelson dropped the proposals last year as the Labour government was unable to get the price it wanted.
An industry source said that Sir Richard and Business Department officials are in the "early days of talks", but that another look at his recommendations seemed inevitable.
A department spokesman said: "Ministers will want to hear from a range of people with knowledge and interest in this area as they begin to develop their plans."
The revelation that the Lib-Con coalition has decided to sell a stake comes in a week when the fully nationalised group has proved that it is hugely successful. Royal Mail announced a pre-tax profit of £404m, up 25 per cent on the previous year.
However, a sale would raise much-needed cash for the government.
The Treasury is also reviewing several loans that Lord Mandelson agreed in principle to give to businesses prior to the election.
This includes £80m to Sheffield Forgemasters, a specialist engineer for the nuclear industry. Its group director, Peter Birtles said he would be "absolutely staggered" if the coalition decided to veto the loan, which would create up to 400 jobs in South Yorkshire.
- 1 Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
- 2 Prince held a Facebook Q&A and this is the only question he answered
- 3 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 4 Now we know whose fault it is if you end up being murdered in Thailand
- 5 35,000 walrus gather ashore on north-west Alaska beach 'for a rest'
Snoop Dogg and Jared Leto buy a stake in Reddit as A-list invests $50m
Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
Car tax disc changes: Five facts you never knew about your (almost obsolete) tax disc
The Aral Sea: Nasa pictures show how what was once the fourth largest lake in the world has become almost completely dry
Brad Pitt, on the moment he completely lost his temper with Clint Eastwood's son
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Benefits 'smart cards' plan revealed by Iain Duncan Smith to stop claimants spending welfare money on alcohol
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Real Staffing are currently lo...
NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...
£18000 - £20000 per annum + OTE £30000: SThree: SThree are a global FTSE 250 b...
Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - Law Costs Draftsperson - NICHE...