Postal Affairs minister Kevin Hollinrake has backed handing control of the Post Office (PO) to partnered stores, marking the first time the government has supported the measure.
Senior figures at the National Federation of SubPostmaster’s (NFSP) annual conference on 15 May confirmed to Better Retailing that, when questioned on the measure (which would also see partnered stores receive a share of profits), Hollinrake responded that he had “always been in favour of mutuals”, and he supported the mutualisation of the PO, but said the organisation “needs to be on a sustainable footing first”.
The statements represent a change from even a week ago, when the same minister described PO mutualisation as “not something I would dismiss out of hand”.
Hollinrake’s comments at the NFSP conference follow continued pushing by PO for the measure.
Speaking at PO’s conference on 11 May, chief executive Nick Read said a Royal Mail decision to give staff 20% of all profits “should be rich food for thought for our shareholder, the government”.
An NFSP spokesperson said mutualisation “can only be considered when the long-term viability of the business is clear. Currently, this is not the case.”