You may have noticed that there's a general election happening this week. Even if you've managed to miss the chatter on TV, it's likely you'll have seen numerous campaign fliers landing on to your door mat. With the big day looming, and an outcome that could dramatically change the country for the next five years, it's pertinent to ask how the postal industry could be affected by the election and what it means for you, the voter.

Privatisation of the mail

Despite it being only two years since the privatisation of the Royal Mail by the coalition government, there are talks from several of the key parties suggesting this could all change again.

Implemented in 2013, the institution's sale was designed to help make the British economy more efficient and responsive, whilst allowing Royal Mail to compete fairly with other parcel delivery companies.

Now, in the run up to the election, left wing parties are challenging the decision to hand over the Royal Mail to private shareholders. As a successful business with a turnover in the hundreds of millions, supporters feel the government is missing out on a money-making venture. This, in addition to stamp price increases, has led to some discontent.

Nicola Sturgeon of the Scottish National Party has vowed to bring the Royal Mail back under government control if Labour is forced to rely on the SNP's support. Despite promises to the contrary, it's been suggested by opponents that in addition to costing the tax payer money to buy back the company, delivery prices would likely increase.

Other factors affecting the parcel delivery industry

With huge fleets of vans across the UK making parcel delivery happen, of course the cost of petrol becomes an important factor in business costs. With fuel prices on the rise again it has been noted by some commentators just how little has been said by politicians on the matter in the run up to the election. Edmund King is president of the AA and remarked: "Manifestos promise action and transparency on domestic energy bills, but nothing on road fuel price transparency."    

As always around elections, tax is a key talking point and this time is no different. For businesses, increases in Corporation Tax is bad news, and whilst none of the main parties have stated this will definitely happen, a refusal to rule out the possibility by Labour has caused critics to accuse the party of being 'anti-business'.

Other business costs will potentially be affected by proposed changes to minimum wages and working hours by several of the parties. While these proposed changes are great news for employees, all of this contributes to cost increases, which eventually can only be passed onto the customer as a postage increase.

Both good and bad, the results from the election will be wide-reaching and not all the effects will be seen initially. When it comes to postage all these factors could affect price but in exactly which way will not be known until after Thursday.

Useful Links

Sending parcels to the UK

Sending parcels internationally 

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