Umunna in attack on Royal Mail 'fire sale'

Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna last night hit out at the Government's plans to privatise Royal Mail, claiming it is a "fire sale" to shore up the country's ailing finances.

"The Tory-led government is putting party politics ahead of the interests of taxpayers by rushing to sell off Royal Mail on the cheap," said Mr Umunna, who claimed the Post Office's universal service could be "at risk".

He suggested that Chancellor George Osborne was rushing through the Royal Mail float — and the mooted sale of the Government's stakes in Lloyds and Royal Bank of Scotland — "to cover the gaping hole" in the public finances.

Royal Mail boss Moya Greene has lined up advisers, including Barclays and public relations firm Tulchan, as she eyes an autumn float with an expected price tag of less than £3bn.

Tory business minister Michael Fallon has insisted that the Royal Mail's universal service will be safe.