The stark warning by Royal Mail that increased competition in the mail delivery market could threaten the Universal Service Obligation (USO), means that mail services to rural areas could be under threat says the Countryside Alliance.
The current regulatory environment allows competitors to ‘cherry pick’ the most densely populated and therefore most profitable areas to deliver threatening the financial sustainability of the USO that many rural communities and businesses rely on.
The 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.
Head of policy Sarah Lee said: “It is essential for rural communities and businesses throughout the UK to be able to send letters and parcels at the same affordable rate to any postcode in the UK. While we are living in an internet age we must not let this be an excuse for the loss of this important obligation.
“We urge Ofcom to guarantee regulation that ensures fair competition across the whole of the UK and does not allow competitors to Royal Mail to cherry pick the most profitable routes. This will ensure that rural communities continue to receive a high quality service at an affordable rate.”