Reader’s letters - Thursday July 03, 2014

One of the new TNT postmen doing his rounds
One of the new TNT postmen doing his rounds
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Have your say

Fears over rival postmen

Royal Mail and its postmen and women are proud to provide the universal service to all 29m addresses the length and breadth of the UK. Recently we have seen companies like TNT Post UK establish their own mail delivery operations which bypass Royal Mail’s network for collection, sorting and delivery of mail.

So far, TNT has launched a rival service in London, Liverpool and Manchester. But this is set to expand quickly to 42 per cent of UK households, covering 8.5 per cent of the UK’s area by 2017. TNT has indicated this could include Preston and the North West. The universal service is sustained by the money we make in urban areas. This helps fund the entire national network, including delivery to areas of lower population where our costs are much higher.

Across Royal Mail, we have been working hard to manage the long-term decline in letters volumes by being more efficient, more customer-focused and growing our parcels business.

However, the already challenged universal service is now being further undermined by new entrants in the following ways. New entrants to the market deliver only in urban, populous areas whereas Royal Mail must deliver mail to less populous areas of the UK which are costly to serve.

Direct delivery competitors are not bound by the same stringent regulatory requirements as Royal Mail. For example, TNT Post UK typically provides an ‘every other day’ service. Royal Mail must collect and deliver letters six days a week.

Direct delivery competitors only deliver bulk business mail, much of which is machine-sequenced. This type of mail is valuable to the universal service provider and helps support the cost of processing items which have to be manually sorted.

As a consequence, we fear that a point could soon be reached where direct delivery competition leads to the universal service being unviable.

Were this to happen, it could represent the loss of a vital service upon which thousands of communities up and down the UK rely. Ofcom should conduct an immediate review of the postal market in order to fulfil its primary duty of protecting the universal service for all.

Adrian Fielding, delivery director, Royal Mail, Preston

Business threat to democracy

It’s a basic principle of democracy that governments should be able to make decisions in the interests of the people who elected them.

But the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) being negotiated between the US and the EU puts this principle under serious threat.

This trade deal aims to set up a secretive ‘court’ in which multinational companies can sue governments if they think a law might harm their profits.

For example, a tobacco company is currently using a similar court to the Australian government for billions of pounds because Australia introduced plain packaging for cigarettes. It’s also suing Uruguay for simply putting a health warning on cigarette packets there. I want the UK government to be able make laws to protect the people of this country, which is why I’ve joined the World Development Movement’s campaign to stop the deal.

Sohail Sitti, Preston

Improvements a road hazard

Utilizing the columns of your newspaper my wife and I wish to convey our appreciation of the skill and fortitude displayed by the bus and taxi drivers over the past three years, whilst the so called improvements to Preston city have taken place.

No doubt officers and members of both Lancashire Highways and Transport and Preston City would wish to join us.

Peter and Barbara Hornshaw, Penwortham

Too many GPs are part-timers

Long queues to see your GP are not due to financial cuts, billions of our pounds have been given to the National Health Service.

In 2004, the Labour government gave GPs over £100,000 each to work a 10 session week; and they do not need to cover weekends or nights. Most are privately employed.

Nearly all GPs are part-timers. Their salaries per session are so high most doctors can live comfortably on about £80,000 a year. In a typical surgery of, say, six GPs caring for 10,000 patients they could have 60 sessions a week, but most surgeries only have 40 sessions out of a possible 60. No night work or weekend work. Their patients become ill anytime in a 24 hour period. The GP is the first line of call for the patients on their register. The main reason why you find delays in seeing your GP easily is because they are all part-timers.

Doctors need to think back to when they first started to study medicine. To care for your patients day and night. We do not want part-time doctors.

Name and address supplied

Have your say on new homes

Residents in Ribble Valley still have time to have their say on the borough’s core strategy.

The strategy, which sets out development in the borough until 2028, including how many new houses the area needs and where they might be built, underwent a series of hearings in January as part of an examination in public by a Government inspector. Following the hearings, inspector Simon Berkeley asked for further consideration of housing levels, how houses were distributed, the treatment of villages and land allocation.

As a result, modifications have been made to the strategy, which are now open for public consultation. Following the consultation, the modifications will go back to the inspector for final consideration.

Modifications to the strategy are available at, the Council Offices in Church Walk, Clitheroe, and local libraries. Residents can comment online or by writing to Forward Planning Team, Ribble Valley Borough Council, Council Offices, Church Walk, Clitheroe, Lancashire, BB7 2RA. The deadline for responses is July 7.

Forward Planning Team, Ribble Valley Council, Clitheroe