More freedom for Parcelforce
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by Karen Miles
• The parcels market faces a massive shake-up after the general election with both major political parties committed to giving Parcelforce more commercial freedom.
The Conservatives have promised to sell the Post Office subsidiary while Labour wants to give the 9,500-vehicle organisation more commercial freedom.
Parcelforce only recently become profitable, making a Lim return on a £471m turnover for the year ending 31 March 1996.
The Conservatives would privatise Parcelforce while "ensuring that every Post Office in the land continues to provide a full parcels service at an economical price". Labour wants to give the company's management more power to make commercial decisions. A spokesman says: "We want to combine the best skills of the private sector with the guarantee of a universal service."
Parcelforce management wants change and was disappointed when the Tories were forced to abandon earlier plans of privatising the company following pressure from backbench Conservative MPs.
Senior Post Office managers have complained that they have been hit over the years by political indecision. If the organisation is to be subject to privatisation, they say, it should be kept as a single unit.