01 March 1998

Trade and industry secretary Margaret Beckett announced on 6 April that the Post Office is definitely to remain in public ownership. Ian McCartney, the minister with specific responsibility for the Post Office, told the House that the Government had removed the 'damaging speculation' about future privatisation but added that the ongoing review, due for completion in the autumn, would cover a range of issues including that of selling a minority stake to the private sector. Commented Neville Bain, the PO's newly appointed chairman: 'The Post Office can only succeed within the public sector framework if it has the necessary capital, can invest that money in joint ventures and partnerships with private sector companies, and share its success in a meaningful way with its customers and employees.'