Minister targeted in post protest

Hundreds of postal workers will stage a fresh protest today against the Government's controversial plans to privatise the Royal Mail, warning that post offices will be at risk of closure.

A rally will be held in Kingston upon Thames, where the local Liberal Democrat MP and Postal Affairs Minister Ed Davey has been promoting the privatisation Bill in its current passage through Parliament.

Billy Hayes, general secretary of the Communication Workers Union, said: "Privatising the Royal Mail will be disastrous for people who rely on post offices and the mail service. We're taking the message direct to Ed Davey's doorstep so that he hears loud and clear the concern and opposition to his actions.

"The Government says privatisation is necessary to safeguard the Royal Mail, but that is blatant spin. If Ed Davey and others were genuinely interested in postal economics, sustainable mail services and value for the taxpayer they would look at regulatory changes before flogging a national asset to profit-hunters."

A Royal Mail spokesman said: "Royal Mail warmly supports the Postal Services Bill. It is vital for the future of the company. The Bill aims to resolve Royal Mail's historic 10.3bn actuarial pension fund deficit, which is a major cash drain on our limited resources. It will also allow Royal Mail access to much-needed private investment."