ROYAL MAIL PRIVATISATION: ROYAL MAIL TO BE SOLD OFF TO THE PUBLIC – We haven’t seen the likes of privatisation of our state owned companies in years but now the Government announced that it is selling off the Royal Mail in a Margaret Thatcher style privatisation sale that would reap an estimated £3 billion.
The Government announced that plans were now being implemented that would see the sale of the Royal Mail, to the public, take place within the next 12 months.
Once again this move, as with other privatisations of nation assets will allow the public to benefit from investing in an institution that is synonymous with British life and there is little doubt that potential shareholders will be queuing up to claim their stake in the company.
The Government will now plan an advertising campaign for the sale but it will not be similar to that when British Gas was sold off in 1986 with its catch phrase of ‘Tell Sid’.
While the campaign was well received by the British public; which saw the company float on the London Stock Exchange and within minutes of doing so witnessed an upward surge in the share price which delighted stockholders, it was also an expensive campaign and Ministers are looking to reduce public awareness costs in order to fill up Government coffers.
During Margaret Thatcher’s Tory leadership a number of companies, such as British Gas and British Telecom where privatised however when it came to the Royal Mail Margaret Thatcher took the view that the Royal Mail should not be privatised as it would not be dignified to have the Queen’s head utilized by a ‘private company’.
Once again the British public will be able to benefit from the Royal Mails profits under privatisation and anyone will be eligible to subscribe for shares in what many feel is a well overdue floatation.
So why now, why privatise the Royal Mail? The Royal Mail has in fact been planning, with the Government, to sell off the business to the public for some time as it struggles with its £12 billion pension hole that the taxpayer had to cover; it was also the reason that the cost of a 1st Class postage stamp rose from £0.46 to £0.60 and it has been suggested that this could rise to £1.00 shortly in order to help recover the pension costs and boost profits.
If the sale is successful Royal Mail employees will be one of the major benefactors as Royal Mail bosses have pledge that 10% of the company would be given to employees; at this point the Royal Mail or Government officials are not saying whether these share will be options to purchase or be given free as a bonus for service.
As with all previous privatisations before the Unions are none too pleased about the prospect and claim that this will only lead to the company rising the cost of postage in order to appease greedy shareholders.
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