Commenting on reports that taxpayers may be over £1 billion worse off as a result of the UK Government's decision to sell-off Royal Mail well below City banks' estimates, the Scottish National Party's Mr Pete Wishart, Member of Parliament for Perth & North Perthshire, has criticised the Westminster Coalition for short-changing taxpayers in the rush to privatisation.
Mr Wishart said:
“If these reports are only half way true then the UK Government have serious questions to answer about the loss of so much taxpayer’s money. It is completely indefensible as part of Westminster’s rush to sell of Royal Mail.
“Royal Mail should never have been privatised, but worse still it now seems that the UK Government have sold off a valuable public asset at well below its true value.
“We have asked many times why did ministers choose to let go of the company's shares at such a low rate? But - as yet -we have had no answers.
"The UK Government’s decision to privatise Royal Mail poses a real danger to the postal service, and in particular, the universal service obligation which is of huge importance to Scotland.
"A privatised postal service in a competitive market will undoubtedly put pressure on government to reduce the terms of the Universal Service Obligation , as its competitors “cherry pick” the profitable urban routes leading to a reduced service in rural and less affluent areas.
“Figures showed 77 per cent of people in Scotland were totally opposed to the privatisation of Royal Mail - more than any other part of the UK. If these reports about undervaluing it are true, that figure can only increase.
"Perthshire taxpayers have been ripped off to fill the pockets of the Tories' big business pals.
"Only with independence can Scotland be assured of a mail service that meets the needs of our communities – and one which is brought back into public ownership."