I thought it would be helpful to clarify for your readers the legal protections around the Universal Service provided by Royal Mail, and in particular for free post to armed forces undertaking operations.
Royal Mail is very proud to deliver a free-of-charge service to our armed forces undertaking operations. Free post to the armed forces does not depend on Royal Mail remaining in public ownership. The Ministry of Defence fully reimburses Royal Mail for the provision of these services. It is a Government decision, not a decision for Royal Mail – whether it is under public or private ownership.
Royal Mail has an opportunity to grow. We can also combine the best of the public and private sectors. Whilst we all now send fewer letters, the growth in online retailing has meant an increase in the number of parcels being sent. We are in a strong position to meet this demand. We already have the largest UK delivery network and we are one of the most trusted companies in the UK. But we need to make significant investment to stay ahead of the competition. The Government’s financial position means that this investment must come from the private sector.
Private investment will allow Royal Mail to grow our parcels business, which in turn will help us to continue to deliver the Universal Postal Service. The Postal Services Act 2011 sets out very clearly the minimum requirements of the Universal Service, which would continue to apply after any sale. These include a uniform, affordable tariff for postal services across the UK – including rural and remote areas – as well as six-day-a- week collection and delivery. Royal Mail is also obliged to meet the highest quality of service standards of any major European country. Again, these will continue to apply to Royal Mail were it to be sold.
The finances of Royal Mail have been transformed in recent years. We were loss-making – now we make a good profit. That matters. It enables us to continue to provide a high-quality rural postal service. There is a brighter future for Royal Mail and we are ready to deliver it.
Paul Kelly, Royal Mail Delivery Director,Cultins Road, Edinburgh
Scare tactics are getting desperate
THE scaremongering from the “Better Together” campaign gets shriller by the day and demonstrates a shocking level of narrow nationalism reserved, it appears, only for Scots.
Despite Scots being shareholders in sterling, a position not held by countries which have previously shaken off the yoke of Westminster, Scots apparently are uniquely to be debarred from using this currency. In Ireland, sterling and Irish Pounds were freely exchangeable on a one-for-one basis from 1922 to 1978. Guernsey, Jersey and the Isle of Man all use sterling. However, somehow we as Scots are unworthy.
Oher than the checkpoints set up to combat the troubles between 1972 and 2005, the UK has maintained an open border with Ireland since 1922. We, however, will be subjected to armed border guards and checkpoints.
Cardiac patients in Northern Ireland are to be sent to Dublin for specialist care as a cost-saving measure as there isn’t the population to warrant a specialist unit in Belfast. It seems health service administrators are perfectly able to cope with this despite the cost of care in Dublin being charged in euros.
However, the prospect of Scottish patients travelling to an English specialist centre or vice versa will apparently cause so much red tape that it will be unworkable.
Sottish servicemen and women exercise regularly with our Norwegian, Danish and Dutch allies for our joint defence, but somehow this will become impossible post-independence.
It seems that in all areas where we as Scots enjoy civilised relations with the rest of the world, we only do so as part of the UK.
According to “Better Together”, if we become independent we are set to become international pariahs, the North Korea of the North Sea.
Alex Orr, Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh
Join campaign to stop sexual violence
Sexual violence in conflict was a shocking reality facing women in Europe during World Wars I and II, and it is all too real for women in Afghanistan and Syria today.
For too long this violence has been seen as inevitable, but that can and should be changed. William Hague put the issue on the agenda for the recent G8 foreign ministers’ meeting. He supports increasing prosecutions of men who carry out these crimes.
Yet, in the aftermath of an attack, a survivor’s first thought isn’t legal action. She needs emergency medical care, and help to overcome the trauma. I am a supporter of CARE International UK, which backs “one stop” centres with health services, financial advice and legal assistance for survivors all in one place. Without this support, women will not have the strength to give testimony.
But there aren’t enough of these centres and they need funding. Please can readers write to their MPs urging them to support funding for this work, and to campaign against such devastating violence.
Lindsay Thomson, Strathalmond Road, Edinburgh
Stroke patients must get the best care
It is concerning news that hundreds of stroke victims in the Lothians are not being admitted to specialist units straight away (News, May 2), which increases the risk of patients becoming disabled or dying.
It is an absolute must that those who have a stroke are admitted to specialist units without delay.
June Fleming, Hercus Loan, Musselburgh