POST OFFICE BECOMES WINS PLC - WITHOUT SHARES

The Post Office will be given greater commercial freedom under a new Bill to help the service compete in this country and overseas.

The Post Office will be given greater commercial freedom under a new Bill to help the service compete in this country and overseas.

The Postal Services Bill will convert the organisation from a public corporation to a public limited company, wholly owned by the government.

Union fears that the move was an attempt to privatise the Post Office have been answered by a pledge that the sale of shares will not be allowed without a further Act of Parliament.

The legislation will complete a package of reforms aimed at giving the Post Office greater commercial freedom as well as liberalising the postal services market.

A new Postal Services Commissioner will be appointed to promote consumer interests and regulate prices.

The commission will also ensure that the Post Office meets its obligations to provide a universal service at a uniform rate.

The Communication Workers Union welcomed the bill, particularly the assurance that no shares will be sold without legislation.

The union fought off Conservative plans to privatise the service and some officials feared the battle might have to be resumed.

The Post Office has been pressing for greater commercial freedom to launch new ventures and take on competitors, who are operating at increased levels in the UK.

The organisation has formed partnerships with banks and is likely to seek new opportunities for business thanks to the Bill.

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