Angus Robertson insists that plans to sell the 30% still owned by the government will pose the biggest threat yet to postal services in areas such as Moray, which are currently protected under the terms of the Universal Service Obligation.
That ensures that rural areas such as Moray continue to be served by the Royal Mail – but Mr Robertson said the sell-off is a “sleekit manoeuvre” that could ultimately make life very difficult for people in the this and other rural regions of Scotland.
“Over the years Moray folk, in their thousands, have contacted me on a wide range of Royal Mail issues,” the MP said, adding: “They have done that because they value the service and, in particular, they value the Universal Service that is vital to health of our rural communities.
“Along with my SNP colleagues we resolutely opposed the privatisation of Royal Mail and we oppose the disposal of the remaining 30% in the company. The total sale of Royal Mail to the private sector is giving away the family jewels.
“Last year the National Audit Office concluded the sale of Royal Mail was rushed at the expense of value for money, but now the Tories are just carrying on regardless.
“The future of our Royal Mail services continues to be regularly raised with me in communities in Moray.
“The implications of a privatised Royal Mail seeking to dilute or end the Universal Service would increase the cost of doing business in rural area, it could lead to centralised collection of mail and make life very difficult for those who rely on mail services in rural and remote areas.
“This is a sleekit manoeuvre by George Osborne – which he and David Cameron kept very quiet about during the general election campaign and the SNP will continue to argue against this every step of the way.”
The move has also been condemned by Labour MSP Rhoda Grant, who said that the government is “ripping off” taxpayers: “It was clear when I first campaigned against privatisation in 2013 that the public were against the sale and particularly people living and doing business in the Highlands and Islands where privatisation puts the our mail service at most risk.
“The Government were guilty of ripping of the tax payer in 2013 by grossly undervaluing the worth of this historic institution, part of the fabric of our nation; shares sold for £1.7bn at privatisation and are now worth £2.7bn.
“The Highlands and Islands are particularly vulnerable to the knock on effects of privatisation. I will fight tooth and nail to oppose the sale of the remaining 30% of the Royal Mail that is in public hands to help protect and secure deliveries to rural areas, preserve the six days a week universal service and ensure the Post Office network remains viable.
“I am saddened to have to be campaigning once again against Royal Mail privatisation, however, now more than ever, it is important we Save Our Royal Mail.”