Enclosed is the Countryside Alliance brief on the Motion put forward by Katy Clark MP (Labour, North Ayrshire and Arran) on the Universal Service Obligation ahead of Backbench Business on 17th July. The Countryside Alliance fully supports this Motion which highlights the threats posed to the Universal Service Obligation (USO) from unfair competition and calls for the Government to instruct Ofcom to review the impact of competition in the postal delivery market. The six day, one-price-goes-anywhere service that Royal Mail provides through the USO is essential to those living and working in rural areas. For many parts of the country and particularly in rural areas, the costs of delivering mail can only be met through using revenues generated from urban and suburban services. However, the current regulatory environment is allowing competitors to ‘cherry-pick’ the easier to deliver to areas, leaving the more geographically challenging areas for Royal Mail. We believe that if this continues at its current pace it could threaten Royal Mail’s ability to deliver the Universal Service. Read our brief on this issue here.
The motion in full: “That this House believes that the Universal Service Obligation as set out in the Postal Services Act 2011 is under threat from unfair competition from organisations which are rapidly expanding end-to-end delivery services in low-cost, high-density urban areas while leaving high-cost, low-density rural areas to be covered by Royal Mail, the universal service provider; and calls on the Government to instruct Ofcom to bring forward proposals to protect the Universal Service Obligation and the commercial viability of Royal Mail against this threat.”