Atkins Questions EC Commissioner about threat to Postal Services
The Rt. Hon. Sir Robert Atkins, MEP for the North West, pressed Commissioner Bolkenstein when he came to the Regional, Transport & Tourism Committee last week, over his proposals to increase competition in European Postal Services which might stop the provision of a universal system to every part of the UK.
"The Tory Party in Brussels & Westminster has been entirely and consistently in favour of more competition in postal services and thus we welcome the spirit of the Commission's Directive," commented Sir Robert, the Conservative Spokesman on the Committee. "But competition must provide a better, cheaper, more efficient service not the reverse. Any suggestion that the Customer in the Isles of Scilly or the Highlands & Islands of Scotland should not have the same postal service as residents of London, Manchester or any other urban area, is completely unacceptable and Conservatives will fight to prevent it. We have reservations also that this may threaten rural post offices, the retention of which we have campaigned about in the last few months."
In his questions to the Commissioner, Sir Robert asked for an assurance that the Universal Service Provision would be maintained and queried the position of the British Government.
- "Has the Labour Government indicated that they are content that letters of only 50 grams or more - as opposed to the 350 grams at present - should be open to greater competition?
- Has the Labour Government agreed to the levy on license holders to maintain the universal service?
- Has the Labour Government registered any concern at the timetable which requires the Directive to be implemented in part by 2003?
- What reaction was there from the British Prime Minister when the matter was discussed at the recent Lisbon Council?"