The Royal Mail needs the "commercial freedom" of the private sector to thrive, the government argued today.
Ministers have insisted that universal, six-day-a-week deliveries are guaranteed but despite the share "giveaway" to workers, the unions are opposed to privatisation calling it an "utterly reckless gamble".
Business Secretary Vince Cable told me that "enlightened self-interest" will lead unions to come round on Royal Mail sell-off.
He said a six day service guaranteed everywhere but admitted that it is a "social purpose" not commercial - precisely the problem for a private Royal Mail.
Crucially, in the long term, Mr Cable said the universal service "might look different".
Dave Ward, the Communication Workers Union's deputy general secretary, has told ITV News the sale of Royal Mail "will not secure the future long term success of the company".
Chuka Umunna has outlined Labour opposition to the privatisation of Royal Mail.
Speaking in the Commons, he said: "Maintaining the Royal Mail in public ownership gives the tax payer an on-going direct interest in the maintenance of the universal postal service in this country.
"It helps safeguard the vital link the Royal Mail has with the Post Office and it ensures the tax-payer gets the share in the upside of modernisation and increased profits that Royal Mail delivers."
– Dr Adam Marshall from the British Chambers of Commerce
Royal Mail provides a vital service for businesses across the UK. This service must be maintained regardless of the company’s future ownership structure.
Many services currently delivered by the public sector can be delivered effectively and efficiently by private companies. In the case of Royal Mail, the key is to ensure that privatisation delivers value-for-money to the taxpayer, and maintains the universal service obligation that sustains both businesses and individuals alike.
– Business Secretary Vince Cable
The Government's decision on the sale is practical, it's logical, it's a commercial decision designed to put Royal Mail's future onto a long-term sustainable basis. It's consistent with developments elsewhere in Europe.
Business Secretary Vince Cable says there are "various myths" that need rebutting concerning the Royal Mail sell-off.
He told The Commons: "Contrary to what is being claimed, after a sale, Royal Mail will still be the UK's universal service provider. This includes services to urban and rural areas and free services to the blind."
The Royal Mail sell off will be mix of Intital Public Offering, a float on stock exchange, 10 percent free shares for workers with some available to the public and the Government is likely to keep a chunk of shares.
Business Secretary Vince Cable has announced Government's plans for the flotation of Royal Mail in the Commons.
He says the "overarching objective" of the plans is to "secure the universal postal service - the six-day-week service, uniform and affordable prices to all 29 million addresses in the UK, which is vital to the UK economy."