Royal Mail reports profit of £671m

The Royal Mail is no longer the only postie in town. Bosses are warning that the public service it offers is not sustainable without change.

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Royal Mail float claims based on 'hindsight', says Cable

A committee of MPs says the taxpayer missed out on an extra £1 billion when Royal Mail was privatised last year.

The Commons business select committee says shares were undervalued, but Business Secretary Vince Cable dismissed the findings as "hindsight".

ITV News Political Correspondent Libby Wiener reports.

MP: Signs of high demand 'before Royal Mail sale'

There were indications before the sell-off of Royal Mail began of demand "really taking off", according to the chair of the business, innovation and skills select committee.

Labour's Adrian Bailey dismissed claims criticism of the sell-off was all in hindsight and told Good Morning Britain the Government failed to act on clear signs of high demand for shares.

"There were indications before the float that demand for these shares were really taking off. Institutional investors over-subscribed it by 24 times and retail investors...by seven times."

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Cable: Royal Mail sale critics have benefit of hindsight

Vince Cable said MPs criticising the Government over the privatisation of Royal Mail have "the benefit of hindsight".

The Business Secretary said: "We sold at a price that was regarded as the best that could be achieved in the context in which we sold it."

"The point we have stressed ... is the price of shares is very, very volatile. These things go up and down."

"I think the wisdom of hindsight about price doesn't really help us very much."

Read: MPs claim Royal Mail sell-off cost taxpayers £1 billion

Labour: Ministers 'botched fire sale of Royal Mail'

The Government pressed ahead with "an unnecessary and botched fire sale of Royal Mail," the shadow trade minister said.

Ian Murray said as a result of this, taxpayers "have been short changed by hundreds of millions of pounds while the Government's 'priority' City investors made a killing at the public's expense."

General view of the Royal Mail sorting Office in Stockport.
The Business Select Committee has claimed the Royal Mail sell-off cost taxpayers £1 billion. Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

Mr Murray said: "The cross-party committee's damning report reinforces the significant criticisms which have already been made by the National Audit Office and others.

"David Cameron's Government still has serious questions to answer."

MPs: Government failed to reap Royal Mail's benefits

A select committee said they were "disturbed" that the Government may have failed to reap the benefits of privatising the Royal Mail.

The MPs said Royal Mail's assets included three sites in London valued by the Business Department at around £200 million, which the National Audit Office said possessed a "hidden value" worth £330 million to £830 million.

A Royal Mail jacket.
The Business Select Committee said taxpayers were missing out on 'significant value.' Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire

The committee found the Shareholder Executive, Lazard - the Government's financial adviser - and UBS and Goldman Sachs - the Government's global co-ordinators - failed to gauge demand at higher price levels and did not give appropriate consideration to maximising value for money for the taxpayer.

Read: MPs claim Royal Mail sell-off cost taxpayers £1 billion

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MPs claim Royal Mail sell-off cost taxpayers £1 billion

Taxpayers have lost £1 billion over Royal Mail's privatisation because the Government underestimated demand for shares, an influential group of MPs has reported.

Ministers were accused of being afraid to fail over last year's sell-off and of receiving "poor quality" advice.

A Royal Mail postman.
The Business Select Committee said taxpayers were missing out on 'significant value.' Credit: PA Wire

In a hard-hitting report, the Business Select Committee said taxpayers were missing out on "significant value."

The advice ministers received on the sale was not up to standard, the MPs concluded.

Parcelforce becomes first to deliver on Sundays

Parcelforce will today become the first national parcels carrier in Britain to deliver on Sundays. The express parcels business of Royal Mail said the new service will particularly benefit online shoppers. The first retailer to sign up is Fortnum and Mason.

Parcelforce becomes the first national parcels carrier in Britain to deliver on Sundays Credit: PA

The Communication Workers Union said it had reached an agreement that Sunday working would be voluntary, while negotiations will be held on new shift patterns.

National officer Terry Pullinger said: "Talks with Parcelforce management established a very important principle as far as employment security is concerned and we are delighted that we have had an assurance that permanent employees will be used to deliver this new exciting innovation to customers."

TNT boss: Royal Mail should stop 'sabre rattling'

A TNT postal delivery van. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Archive

TNT Chief Executive Nick Wells has said that the Royal Mail should stop "sabre-rattling."

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's World At One, he said: "They have just delivered record profits. Clearly TNT Post are trying to create innovation in the postal market. We are delivering choice for our customers, and that is good for the market overall, as well as creating jobs.

"It is very fair. We are an entrant in this market and we will pay Royal Mail, for the areas we don't cover, a very fair and reflective price.

Royal Mail should stop this sabre-rattling. We have a small market share, there is absolutely no threat to the universal service."

More: Ofcom 'does not believe' there is any risk to sustainability to Royal Mail's deliveries

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