The ConDem coalition government is about to hammer another nail into coffin that is the Post Office. In previous blogs I have highlighted how the governments have been systematically dismantling the Post Office, service by service. The truth is it’s an easy target and to hell with the social impact on communities.
The latest sell-out will no doubt come with the tag, ‘opportunity’. Sure it’s an opportunity – but not for the people of this country – for the company that will grab another piece of lucrative business from the Post Office along the road – the future distribution of welfare payments.
Who is it? None other than our old friend PayPoint, subsidiary of Capita.
PayPoint is Capita’s bill payment processing giant. PayPoint’s profits are soaring and little wonder. This initial 5 year contract will be worth £70million.
It was the last Labour government that decided to put benefit payments out to tender – attractive at around £15 million a year for handling 400,000 giro payments.
Let’s put this in context. In 2006 the then Capita Executive chairman, Rod Aldridge OBE, long-time Labour supporter, resigned during the cash for honours crisis when it was revealed that his company Capita had been awarded several government contracts and he had given the Labour Party a loan of £1million. He denied any connection but left anyway.
Harriet Harman’s written answer to a question about the number of contracts Labour had given to Capita threw up even more questions and precious few answers. As the lady said – Capita has many subsidiaries –not all known or recognised by the civil service and so it is not recorded how contracts Capita and its subsidiaries actually have.
Harman: “Records of lists of tenderers are not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Information is held centrally on the award of some contracts but may not be complete. This is chiefly because the Capita Group plc has many subsidiaries, some of which have no obvious connection to the holding company and it is possible that a relevant contact may not have been identified as such. Confirming the complete list of contracts awarded to the Capita Group plc and its subsidiaries could be achieved only at disproportionate cost. “ (From http://www.TheyWorkFor You.com)
We do know that Capita has 21 contracts from the Ministry of Defence
Er, excuse me for asking but how does this tie in with monopolies legislation? Capital according to its Wiki page is the largest business process outsourcing company in the UK – and with government help will continue to mushroom. It is not surprising that huge conglomerates such as Capita can afford to bid low to capture lucrative government contracts. Looks like they’ve done just that.
Governments change but in name only – the pledge from Business Secretary Vince Cable that his government will not close any more Post Offices is looking frayed against the steady march of the corporate giant. The ConDems are going ahead with Labour’s plan to privatise Royal Mail and the black propaganda campaign mounted by the Labour government is being continued by this coalition: the skewing and concealing actual figures for mail handling and distribution. And so the future privatisation of mail is dished up as essential.
Once Royal Mail goes – and mail deliveries dry up in rural areas – only then will people realise how professional and comprehensive our Post Office/Royal Mail service has been.
When welfare payments join the rush of services being snatched away from the Post Office and add to the profits of Capita’s PayPoint outlets – only then will people realise that the British Post Office is on a hiding to nothing.
In 10 years time it is unlikely there will be any Post Offices left. Instead we’ll have a plastic PP sign and there won’t be any use asking questions of the shop assistants at the fag counters where you will find these signs – they are not trained in Post Office duties. Try querying why there’s been a breakdown in service from the sign on the wall – good luck.