Select Committee on Trade and Industry Annxes to the Report

Letter to the Chairman from Lord Falconer

  As part of the consultation process in the transposition of the Postal Services Directive, DTI published draft implementing regulations in the summer of 1999. They included with this a table showing how each article of the Directive was being transposed (a so-called correspondence table or memorandum). As chair of the House of Commons' Trade and Industry Select Committee (TISC), which was conducting an enquiry into Post Office reform at the time, you welcomed the consultation and included the following recommendation in your report:

    "We welcome the ready response of Ministers to our request for publication for purposes of consultation of a draft of the Regulations to establish the Regulator and to enshrine in the UK law the terms of the Universal Service Obligation, and the publication therewith of a memorandum setting out in detail the proposed transposition of the relevant EU Directive into UK law. We recommend that the Cabinet Office ensure that in future an equivalent implementation memorandum be made available to Parliament together with primary or secondary legislation giving effect to EU Directives"

  I must make an apology for the time that it has taken to respond to your recommendation. I hope that you will understand that this raised important issues, which needed time for consideration.

  In response to the Committee's recommendation, the Government commits itself to making available to Parliament a memorandum alongside primary or secondary legislation giving effect to European directives, except where the effort required would be disproportionate having regard in particular to the potential benefit to the reader. This memorandum will set out how the Government will transpose the main elements of the relevant European directive into UK law. The Government aims to have this system in place by November 2001.

21 November 2000


It would be helpful to have an indication of any significant deviation from the regulated utilities model in the legislation

  The arrangements for regulation and consumer representation of postal services are entirely consistent with regulation of the regulated utilities. Where any differences arise, these are minor and meet circumstances particular to regulation of the postal market. The only significant difference arises in what is regulated. For the regulated utilities the whole market is regulated. For postal services only companies operating in the reserved area will be regulated. The current reservation is items containing letters costing less than £1 to send or weighing less than 350 grams.


The Government forwarded a supplementary note in relation to the proposed carry-forward of unused loan facilities. An update would be helpful

  The new regime is still only half way through its second year. The full effects of the reform package will not be realised until the Post Office company is up and running. The Government will then be able to consider how the regime is working and the extent to which adjustments may be necessary. In this context we will continue to keep the question of whether it is appropriate to allow end year flexibility for the carry forward of unused loan facilities under review.


  1.  In June 2000 the Cabinet Office PIU published a report on the Counters Network. Following its previous Reports in this Parliament, the Committee heard oral evidence in July 2000 and reported in November 2000. The Reply is awaited.

  2.  The Report continued some the themes from previous Reports, including the future of Parcelforce and the state of industrial relations, but concentrated on the question of subsidy for the network, the prospects for the Universal Bank under discussion, and the plans to install ATMs in a number of post offices.

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