HC Deb 06 May 2004 vol 420 c1730W
Mr. Andrew Turner

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if she will make a statement on the Royal Mail's single delivery project. [170694]

Ms Hewitt

Royal Mail is currently undertaking a complete restructure of the business with the full backing of the Government. A key element of that change, and the most visible to Royal Mail's customers, is the move to a single delivery. The Royal Mail is the last postal company in the world to move to a single delivery and it is essential that it do so if the business is to become competitive. The second delivery is an anachronism. It accounted for 20 per cent. of Royal Mail's cost, but only 4 per cent. of post carried.

Once the single delivery changes have been made, the target will be for everybody to receive his or her post by lunchtime. Many households will receive their post at the same time as before; others, however, will receive their post later in the morning. I fully appreciate that this will be disappointing to some but continuing the second delivery with its high costs makes no sense.

This is a huge undertaking for the company. Single delivery has now been introduced in 1,100 out of 1,450 delivery offices. The process takes six to eight weeks to bed in, as postmen and women get used to new and longer delivery routes. I understand that for the most part the change has gone reasonably smoothly and is now working well. There have been some problems and Royal Mail has apologised for the fall in service. I have Allan Leighton's personal assurance that the problems customers are experiencing in certain areas while the single delivery is being introduced are being vigorously tackled and solutions being found.

Michael Fabricant

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1) what assessment she has made of(a) the effect of size-based pricing on mail order companies and (b) the accuracy of Royal Mail's assertion that 30 per cent. of mail will be affected by these changes; [171010]

(2) if she will make a statement on the introduction of size-based pricing by Royal Mail. [171011]

Nigel Griffiths

The introduction and the assessment of the effect of size-based pricing are matters for the Royal Mail and for the postal regulator, Postcomm.

Forward to