Table of Contents

Handbook of Worldwide Postal Reform

Handbook of Worldwide Postal Reform

Advances in Regulatory Economics series

Edited by Michael A. Crew, Paul R. Kleindofer and James I. Campbell Jr

The postal and delivery sector has been the subject of considerable interest in recent years. This Handbook brings together a number of contributions directed at understanding developments in the field of postal reform. The authors review the experience and plans of individual countries to provide some perspective on the problems faced in the area and the varied approaches being taken to address it. They also review key elements of policy and strategy that are important in this debate.

Chapter 19: United Kingdom Postal Services Regulation

Richard Eccles

Subjects: economics and finance, public sector economics


Richard Eccles† INTRODUCTION In the United Kingdom (UK), postal services markets were fully liberalized with effect from 1 January 2006 under the Postal Services Act 2000. This is subject to a requirement on all postal operators to hold a license granted by the Postal Services Commission (‘Postcomm’). Licenses are required for all operators transporting letter mail items weighing less than 350 grams for a price of less than £1.1 These thresholds reflect the original reservable area thresholds under the EC Directive 97/67 on the internal market for postal services (the ‘Postal Directive’). Postcomm’s policy is to grant licenses to all operators subject only to compliance with certain essential requirements. A more relaxed legal regime applies for the grant of licenses outside the reduced reservable area under the second EU Postal Services Directive, Directive 2002/39/EC (50 grams or 2.5 times the fastest standard tariff, 65 pence in the UK). The universal services provider, Royal Mail, is also required to hold a license and indeed Royal Mail’s license is the principal measure by which Royal Mail is regulated. Postcomm has granted 19 long-term licenses to other postal operators.2 The primary statutory objective of the regulator, Postcomm, under the Postal Services Act 2000, is to ensure the provision of the universal service.3 Moreover, the universal service must be provided at affordable prices and at a geographically uniform tariff throughout the UK.4 The promotion of effective competition between postal operators is an additional, but secondary objective of Postcomm,5 being...

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