01 October 1997

IAN MCCARTNEY, DTI minister for competitiveness, told the Commons Industry Select Committee that the government will change the financial structure of the Post Office as part of its current review of the corporation, effectively untying the PO from the purse-strings of the Treasury. At the same hearing, PO chairman Michael Heron told the Committee that the PO should be converted into an independent, publicly-owned company regulated by parliamentary charter, with the government either as sole or controlling shareholder. He urged swift action. His plea was echoed by John Roberts, PO chief executive, who told MPs: ‘Within a 20-mile radius of my office in London, the post offices of Holland, Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland and Belgium have set-up sales offices and are hunting orders for UK mail.’