Problems and Progress
Edited by Colin Robinson
164 Utility regulation in competitive markets CHAIRMAN’S COMMENTS Nigel Stapleton I must preface my remarks by indicating that I was appointed for a threeyear term as Postcomm chairman – it ends in January 2007. So in disagreeing with some of Dermot and David’s conclusions, it is not because their proposals might be doing me out of a job; it is for more deep-rooted reasons that I challenge some of the points they have made. Their chapter starts by talking about the development of the postal market across Europe, and that is a very interesting and helpful bird’s-eye view. There are three points that I would add to that overview. First of all, that the nature of regulation varies substantially across the EU, and all the directive said was that the regulator had to be independent of the USP, the universal service provider. Here in the UK, the government have taken that directive, I believe, further than any other country in Europe has so far done, in the sense that Postcomm is a postal regulator that is independent of government. Although each of the commissioners are appointed by the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry we are accountable not to the DTI, but only to Parliament, in the ﬁrst instance through the Trade and Industry Committee. No other country in Europe, as far as I am aware, has gone this far in terms of independent regulation of the postal sector. Given that most of the USPs are clearly state owned we...
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