Royal-Mail-snow-vanThe Countryside Alliance welcomes the review into the sustainability of the Universal Service Obligation, announced by Ofcom today (2 December), which will hopefully safeguard the six-day-a-week postal service to all parts of the UK for a uniform tariff.

Ofcom will undertake a broad review of factors affecting Royal Mail’s ability to deliver the universal postal service, concluding next year. This will consider Royal Mail’s efficiency and its parcel delivery performance. 

We fully support this review as we have long been concerned about the impact of Royal Mail’s competitors being able to cherry-pick the more profitable mail delivery routes, leaving Royal Mail with the less profitable ones. If left unchecked we believe this could lead to the countryside receiving a second class mail service.

Sarah Lee, head of policy for the Countryside Alliance said: “The Universal Service Obligation (USO) is the Royal Mail’s promise of a six-day-a-week postal service to all parts of the UK for a uniform tariff, and is enshrined in legislation.

“This daily delivery is vital for rural communities and businesses. However for many parts of the country – particularly rural areas – the costs of delivering mail can only be met by using revenues generated from urban and suburban areas.

“The current regulatory environment allows competitors to cherry-pick the easier-to-deliver-to areas, leaving the more challenging routes for the Royal Mail and we believe if this continues at its current pace it could present a serious threat to Royal Mail’s ability to deliver the Universal Service.

“We welcome this move from Ofcom to ensure that the USO is not a victim of greater competition in the postal industry.”

For more information, contact the Countryside Alliance press office on 0207 840 9220 or email [email protected]

Note to journalists
The Ofcom press release can be found at http://media.ofcom.org.uk/news/2014/post-update/