ACRE, Plunkett and RSN warn rural communities could be adversely affected by takeover of Royal Mail

Open letter urges minister to delay any decision on the transfer of Royal Mail until after the election

Three organisations representing rural community interests have expressed concerns that a possible buyout of Royal Mail could result in a watering down of the Universal Service Obligation (USO) which currently guarantees a minimum level of service to consumers.

Action with Communities in Rural England (ACRE), Plunkett UK and Rural Services Network (RSN) are worried that a transfer of ownership during the election period could mean that rural residents and businesses find it even harder to send mail or use essential services currently provided by Post Office counters.

In an open letter to The Rt Hon Kemi Badenoch, they request that a ‘holding instruction’ be issued to the operators of the postal services USO to the effect that any transfer of ownership must be blocked pending the outcome of the general election, and that Ofcom makes no decisions about the future of the USO until this time. It is hoped this will provide the next government with time to consider alternative ways that rural communities could be better served.

The concerns raised by the three organisations are set against the backdrop of the withdrawal of commercially run services in the countryside. Rural communities are increasingly finding themselves at a disadvantage when it comes to accessing cash and banking services compared with their urban counterparts.