The Countryside Alliance welcomes today’s report (12 March) from the BIS Select Committee on Competition in the postal services sector and the Universal Service Obligation (USO) and its recognition that the USO is an “essential service” that needs to be protected by Ofcom.As our submission outlined, the USO plays an important role in rural communities and if it was scrapped could lead to unfair costs being placed on rural businesses and an increase in social isolation. This is why we fully support the call from the Committee seeking reassurance from Ofcom that they are able to take swift action to protect the USO. Sarah Lee, head of policy for the Countryside Alliance said: “We are concerned about the impact of Royal Mail’s competitors being able to cherry-pick 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. Daily postal deliveries are vital for rural communities and businesses.“We welcome this report and urge OFCOM to continue its review of the sustainability of the Universal Service Obligation that was announced in December.”For more information, contact Countryside Alliance head of media Charlotte Cooper on 0207 8409220 and 07500 834163 or email email@example.comNote for editors• 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.