Services That Are ‘Must Haves’

Let’s talk about services that are ‘must haves’. Here’s the introductory paragraphs to an article from the Guardian of Mon 27 Mar 2023: Royal Mail bosses threaten insolvency

Long-running talks between Royal Mail and the Communication Workers Union are on the brink of collapse, with the company’s board thought to have threatened to put the loss-making postal service – the regulated UK entity that delivers to every address in the country – into a form of administration if a deal cannot be agreed.
A politically explosive move to declare the postal service insolvent is regarded by Royal Mail’s board as a last resort but has been raised with the union already.

My Opinion

So yes, let’s talk about services that are ‘must haves’. That is where we don’t have much choice about rejecting them – services like the mail, water, power, public transport, health. They are different from services the consumer can take or leave.

‘Must have’ services should not be provided in a structure of inbuilt conflict. That conflict exists when the provision of services competes with the interests of shareholders. Such services should be owned by the public.

What do I say about any political party that preaches a message of private enterprises running public ‘must have’ services? I say such a party does not have the interests of the public at heart.

So what is the position of such a political party? From 3 April 2023 a first class stamp for a letter will cost £1.10. People rely on the mail. When the cost of sending a letter inhibits ordinary people from using the service, then the cost of the service is a regressive tax. And the party promoting that situation has no interest in the public.

The United States thrives on private enterprise. Yet even in the United States the United States Postal Service is not a private enterprise. The USPS is an independent agency of the executive branch of the United States federal government. It is responsible for providing postal service in the U.S. And it is one of the few government agencies explicitly authorised by the U.S. Constitution.

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