By John Bufton MEP | Related VIDEO
• For years now people have been campaigning about the closures of local post offices. But rarely in the protests have you heard criticism of the EU.
Yes, successive Governments have stripped support away from the psot office. They've failed to help Royal Mail modernise as more and more licensing applications are done online, benefits paid directly into the bank account and so forth. The post office needed revolutionising and it just didn't happen.
But the real threat to the Royal Mail was the EU Postal Services Directive, which ordered under competition law for the delivery of mail to be privatised. Without this, the Post Office was left with no choice but to rely on taxpayer's money to stay open, money which over the years has been withdrawn.
I presented this argument to the European Commission yesterday stating:
"When the EU ordered the postal sector open up to competition it destroyed a vital British service. As a sovereign nation our post offices were run by Royal Mail and linked with national savings, licensing, welfare and pension collection to name a few.
In 1975 we had 25,000 post offices, now there are less than 12,000, despite a population boom. After being forced to sell off its profit making arm, post offices couldn’t stay open without government support. Thousands shut, stripping communities of access to vital services.
The EU postal reform says good-quality postal services should be available throughout the Union. That is exactly what we had.
“It’s a disgrace to strip Britain of an efficient public service merely to satisfy Competition law. Do you wish to privatise the NHS too? The UK must be allowed to fully opt out.”
In 2008, our Government commissioned an independent review of the Postal Service. The Hooper report warned that a forced restructuring under European law would be highly likely. That same author today is advising Westminster that the only option left for Royal Mail now is to sell it off completely.
Government support for post offices was withdrawn, causing widespread closure of vital sub post offices isolating whole communities from access to necessary services.
It’s another example of erroneous EU law interfering with a perfectly suitable British model.
Successive Governments in Westminster have let down the postal service by failing to move with the times and account for technological developments. But what this has done is leave the door wide open for Brussels to march in and destroy Royal Mail and the postal service sector entirely.”
Today, Richard Hooper, who authored the report in December 2008, will recommend the Westminster Government that a sell-off is now the only way to raise the money to modernise the service, threatening huge job loss and massive service disruption.
John Bufton's Blog - Hustles in Brussels