Controversial plans to sell off the Royal Mail will eventually lead to a foreign takeover of the postal service, a Birmingham Labour MP has claimed.
But Ministers insisted the public would benefit, because the move would raise funds to invest in modernisation and better services.
The reactions followed Business Secretary Vince Cable’s announcement that Ministers are pressing ahead with plans to sell the Royal Mail, raising an estimated £3 billion.
Postal workers will be given ten per cent of shares while members of the public will be invited to buy a stake in the company at a minimum cost of £750 each.
The Post Office was separated from Royal Mail in 2012 and is not for sale.
Ministers stressed that legal safeguards would be in place to enforce minimum standards, including the provision of six-day-a-week service in every part of the country.
“The Government is rushing this sale because the Royal Mail is a highly profitable business and they want to raise money to disguise their borrowing figures at the next election.
“There are other methods that could be used to bring investment in, such as a partnership with the private sector while the Government continues to control the business. But these options haven’t even been considered properly.”
And Black Country MP Tom Watson (Lab West Bromwich East) said: “I am opposed to this sale. It’s appalling that Parliament has not been consulted. We are selling off the family silver to hedge funds and foreign nations. It’s a terrible shame for a great British institution.”
The announcement was condemned by unions and could lead to strike action over the Christmas period.
Royal Mail chief executive Moya Greene met 1,200 members of the Communication Workers Union in Birmingham yesterday in a last-ditch bid to win their support, but she was reportedly booed at the private event.
Dr Cable had said: “The Government is taking action to secure a healthy future for the company.”