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"New postal charges will penalise those in rural areas" - Farron

July 18, 2007 12:00 AM

Local MP Tim Farron this week expressed his outrage at the Royal Mail's proposals to charge customers sending out bulk mailings higher prices in order to deliver their mail to rural areas. In a parliamentary motion this week Tim led his fellow MPs in expressing unease at these new plans which will affect many thousands of people, businesses and public sector organisations and potentially result in the loss of already endangered rural postal services.

The revenue raised from the new zonal surcharges would be used by the Royal Mail to fund discounts in the most urban areas, not including London, in a plan designed to stop the company's competitors from entering the end-to-end delivery arena. However, the decreased mail volumes going to rural areas will result in an increase in the unit costs of deliveries putting the Royal Mail under increased financial pressure to reduce its service to rural areas in the future.

In his early day motion Tim also urged fellow MPs to call on the independent postal regulator Postcomm to exercise their right to veto these proposals when they release their indicative decision later this month.

Tim Farron said:

"By introducing these surcharges the Royal Mail would be effectively penalising those living and working in rural areas, while unfairly prioritising those in urban areas. In Westmorland and Lonsdale it is thought that 64 per cent of households and 78 per cent of postcode sectors will be affected and the knock-on effect of these charges will, in the long run, be exceptionally damaging to our community.

"It is vital that we alert Postcomm to the impact that such charges would have not only by imposing significant additional costs to rural businesses but also on rural post services which in the future could potentially be lost altogether"