WIGAN postal workers have joined in the condemnation of the controversial privatisation of the Royal Mail.
A new report from the National Audit Office (NAO) has criticised the Government for under-pricing the deal and selling the country short in the rush to offload it last year.
It has now been revealed that 21 banks initially valued Royal Mail at well over the £3.3bn it eventually sold for, and almost half the share allocation of 16 “priority” investors – who the Government intended to have a long-term stake in the company – had been sold off within a few weeks at a substantial profit.
At the end of January only six of these remained among the largest shareholders and with only a 12 per cent collective stake.
The NAO found that the process the Government put in place to sell-off Royal Mail did not deliver best value for the taxpayer and the Government should now consider whether alternative methods of accessing equity markets would have achieved better value.
Wigan MP Lisa Nandy welcomed the report. She believes that not only did the Government ministers sell off a “much loved institution” against the public’s wishes, but the nation has now found that the Government had made a “complete mess of it.”
She said: “Since Royal Mail was sold shares have rocketed by £1.4bn. That money should have gone into our schools and hospitals, not into the hands of a few private investors. It’s astonishing that nobody has resigned.”
Wigan’s communication workers union CWU said the report had exposed the sell-off for what it had always been – a political opportunity for the Government regardless of whether it was a good deal or not. Branch secretary Paul Fenney said: “The Government have been found guilty by an independent body that shows it failed on a number of counts.
“It’s clear the Government should have listened to us when we called for alternatives to selling off Royal Mail but they didn’t because it was always all about making a quick buck for city investors.”