Queen's head on stamps guaranteed by law

The Queen's head will remain on stamps regardless of who buys the Royal Mail after the Government decided to amend its controversial privatisation legislation, it was announced today.

The Government said that after listening to the views of members of both Houses of Parliament and raising the matter with Buckingham Palace, it had decided to build in a new safeguard.



The Postal Services Bill, which receives its third reading in the Commons on Wednesday, will be amended to give ministers the power to require an image of the Queen to appear on postage stamps



Postal Affairs Minister Ed Davey said: "At the moment there is no legal requirement for stamps to use the Queen's head. Royal Mail has always done this voluntarily by convention as they are extremely proud of their Royal connection.



"I can't see any reason why any future owner would want to change this as it's a very valuable and prestigious tradition. So our amendment is really a fail-safe and I would be astounded if the power ever needs to be used.



"Ever since we began developing our Postal Services Bill we have been very mindful about the importance of respecting and protecting the Royal associations and have had regular discussions with Buckingham Palace.



"At the outset we agreed a measure to ensure that the Sovereign continues to approve the designs of any stamps that bear her image.



"We have always been aware that the Bill did not contain a specific clause to require all stamps to bear the Queen's image, turning established practice and tradition into a legal requirement - as a principle we do not legislate without very careful consideration of whether it is entirely necessary.



"After listening to the views of members of both Houses of Parliament and raising the matter with the Palace, we have now agreed this additional safeguard. I'm sure it will provide everyone with extra reassurance."



Moya Greene, Royal Mail's chief executive, said: "The monarch's head has been a key feature of Royal Mail stamps since the Penny Black was issued in 1840. We are very proud of our long-standing Royal association. It's unthinkable that Royal Mail stamps would not have the image of the monarch so we strongly support any measure that fully protects that key feature of our stamps."



The Bill is now entering its final stage in the Commons before being considered by the House of Lords.



Ministers say the plans to sell off the Royal Mail part of the business will lead to an injection of private capital, ending the dependence on funding from the taxpayer and bringing new commercial disciplines into the business.



At least 10% of the shares in Royal Mail will go to its employees in the future - the largest employee share scheme of any privatisation - while Royal Mail will be relieved of its huge pension deficit by the Government.



Meanwhile, hundreds of trade unionists, students and residents will take part in a demonstration in David Cameron's Oxfordshire constituency today to protest against plans to privatise the Royal Mail as well as the Government's spending cuts.



Billy Hayes, general secretary of the Communication Workers Union said: "Government cuts are really beginning to draw blood now as jobs and services suffer. The planned privatisation of Royal Mail is an unnecessary ideological move which will damage postal services forever."



A 6ft coffin bearing the message "Here Lies the Remains of Royal Mail" will be held aloft at the protest, which is supported by several trade unions and other groups.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Direct Mail Machine Operative

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for an i...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Accounts Executive

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for the ...

Recruitment Genius: Team Administrator / Secretary - South East

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time Administrator/Secreta...

Recruitment Genius: Parts Advisor

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading Mercedes-Ben...

Day In a Page

Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

Today's pre-school child costs £35,000, according to Aviva. And that's but the tip of an iceberg, says DJ Taylor
Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US