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.
- 2 Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
- 3 Lady al-Qa’ida: On the trail of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the world’s most wanted prisoner
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 It's not just the savagery of Isis that is shocking – its weaponry is too
YouTube video posted by Isis militants shows 'execution of 250 Syrian soldiers'
Keira Knightley topless: Usually conservative actress does own take on #Freethenipple campaign for Interview Magazine
Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
Sir Paul McCartney makes his stance on Scottish independence known
PM sets out tough new anti-terror measures in response to heightened threat
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Scottish independence TV debate: Pumped-up Alex Salmond bounces back in bruising second round against Alistair Darling
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
Highly Attractive Salary: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - This is a very unusual law c...
£35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Network Engineer (CCNP, CCNA, Linux, OSPF,...
£50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: DevOps Engineer (Systems Administration, L...
£60000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A prestigious leading professiona...