Argyll and Bute MP has not signed Commons Early Day Motion to protect rural post offices

For a Highlands and Islands politician who has made much over the years of his support for rural post offices, Argyll and Bute’s MP, Liberal Democrat Alan Reid is oddly missing as a signatory to a House of Commons Early Day Motion lodged today, 5th January 2013.

Designed to offer shelter to rural post offices in the coming privatisation of the Royal Mail by defending the Universal Service Obligation – to charge the same price to deliver a letter to any address in the country – this Early Day Motion was lodged by the SNP’s Mike Reid, MP for Angus.

The motion [No 818] was sponsored by fellow SNP MSP Eilidh Whiteford [Banff and Buchan] and by four Northern Ireland MPs – two from the Social Democratic and Labour Party – Margaret Ritchie and Mark Durkan; and two Democratic Unionists – Jim Shannon and William McCrea.

It has attracted cross-party support, with 71 signatures, including 7 Liberal Democrats [only one a Scottish MP]: Alan Beith [Berwick on Tweed], Andrew George [St Ives], Mike Hancock [Portsmouth South], Nick Harvey {North Devon], John Leech [Manchester Withington], Bob Russell [Colchester] and Mark Williams [Ceredigion].

Given that seven of his colleagues have signed the motion – it is strange that Alan Reid has not joined them, given that the survival of rural post offices is a major matter of concern here in his constituency.

He may, of course, sign it later but he has not been in any marked rush to do so.

10 Scottish Labour MPs have signed the motion: Anne Begg [Aberdeen South], Katy Clark [North Ayrshire and Arran], Michael Connarty [Linlithgow and East Falkirk], Ian Davidson [Glasgow South West], Jim McGovern [Dundee West], Iain McKenzie [Inverclyde], Graeme Morrice [Livingston], Pamela Nash [Airdrie and Shotts], Sandra Osborne [Ayr Carrick and Cumnock] and Lindsay Roy [Glenrothes].

In addition to Mike Weir and Eilidh Whiteford,  3 other Scottish National Party MPs signed: Angus MacNeil [Na h-Eileanan an Iar], Angus Robertson [Moray] and Pete Wishart [Perth and North Perthshire].

Not one Conservative MP from any part of the UK signed the motion.

Text of the motion

The motion says:

‘That this House expresses its alarm that the regulator, Ofcom has failed to register the dangers to Royal Mail’s provision of the universal service obligation; notes in particular, that Ofcom has allowed the introduction of delivery competition without putting into place any safeguards to ensure that Royal Mail can fund the universal service, in the event of the loss of a substantial amount of delivery work; further notes that Ofcom has placed no obligation on competitors to meet Royal Mail delivery standards, or even to publish details of delivery performance in a manner accessible to customers and the public; and therefore calls on the regulator to reconsider its decision and ensure that Royal Mail is not subjected to unfair competition in delivery provision.’

Note: Here is Mike Weir MP’s Early Day Motion with its record of signatories and the dates they signed.

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13 Responses to Argyll and Bute MP has not signed Commons Early Day Motion to protect rural post offices

  1. For a rural Scottish MP not to sign an early day motion of concern about the privatisation of the post office is shocking.

    Everone and their dog knows that with privatisation the pressure will be on to end the universal delivery and charge more.

    Delivery at extra cost just like the private couriers, or delivey to local pick up points in the nearest village, or bulked weekly deliveries. Delivering to rural areas is something private business doesn’t want as the cherry picking private mail companies already show.

    Indeed, with private companies already having cherry picked delivery in the large connurbations, the message is clear.

    So why the tacit support by Alan Reid for the plan. Well he’s for it obviously just like his Westminster Tory chums, even though it strikes at the heart of rural service delivery in Scltland.

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  2. Considering the recent campaign by Highland Council and Citizen Advice Scotland regarding the disgraceful charges made by couriers, one would have thought that Mr Reid would be only too willing to support his constituents’ need for the universal service obligation to remain and indeed for it to apply to the commercial firms.

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  3. The greatest asset of the Royal Mail is it is the only public service with the capacity to be in almost daily human contact with every citizen at their home.

    This is a wonderful resource for a caring society and must not be lost. Indeed the service should be developed even as part of our integrated health and welfare system.

    With the challenge of the Internet, etc. new thinking is required.

    Time for people in the postal industry and public sector to consider the possibilities of a new service in an independent Scotland

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  4. Yes Jade, and consider the impact of commercial pressure to deliver profit on the rural PostBus services.

    A fantastically good idea to combine an element of much needed public transport into rural areas.

    And one wonders how the good citizens in rural areas are thinking these days wth the Tory coalition’s plans to privatise the NHS. Private ambulance transport, private GP surgeries, private hospitals, will all be money spinners for the big business chums of the Westminster set.

    Ah but it won’t affect us in Scotland because we’re better together.

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    • Willie Hutchison does not appear to have a clue that GPs are not employed by the NHS and that our GP practices have been private health care facilities for many year. Given that most people receive 85% of their health care from their GP practices, it can been seen that most of the public’s health care is delivered by the PRIVATE sector.

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        • Chris, sorry but the legal advice is clear that, apart from the handful of GPs who are directly employed by the NHS across Scotland, our GP prcatices are private businesses who employ their own staff with the GPs taking a big share of the massive profits that they make from dispensing drugs etc.

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  5. Yes Graeme, your comments about integrating postal services into health and welfare systems is a sound idea and just the type of thing that an Independent Scotland could consider.

    But not under the current constitutional arrangements.

    Better together in Scotland as a socialy inclusive society than the ever more socially divided Bitter Together UK.

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  6. Oh well Benasheil if 85% of Scotland’s public health care is being provided by PRIVATE sector as you say, then there won’t be much to privatise in Scotland.

    Phew! Didn’t know that, and a good thing you are up to speed to keep us all alright.

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  7. Perhaps Alan Reid has just forgotten or will do it nearer the time. It is all about politics. If you are concerned about Alan not signing the Early Day Motion, perhaps you guys could write/ email him and request that he signs it. That way Alan knows what is important to his constituents, and if it something he agrees with and stands for – he will then sign it.

    Hopefully our rural post offices will still be with us in years to come.

    Happy New Year eveyone!!!

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