Majority of Lib Dem members back Vince’s Royal Mail privatisation plans

by Stephen Tall on August 9, 2013

Lib Dem Voice has polled our members-only forum  to discover what Lib Dem members think of various political issues, the Coalition, and the performance of key party figures. More than 600 party members have responded, and we’re publishing the full results.

Royal Mail privatisation backed by 55% to 41%

The Government has announced plans to privatise Royal Mail. 90% of shares will be made available for purchase by the public, with 10% given to postal service employees for free. To what extent do you support or oppose plans to privatise the Royal Mail?

    16% – Strongly support

    39% – Tend to support

    Total support = 55%

    20% – Tend to oppose

    21% – Strongly oppose

    Total oppose = 41%

    3% – Don’t know

A month ago, Vince Cable announced the privatisation of Royal Mail (which is quite separate to the Post Office). Where Michael Heseltine and Peter Mandelson had tried and quailed, Vince sallied forth.

His plans have won majority support from our survey of Lib Dem members, with 55% backing them. However, a substantial minority (41%) are opposed. Here’s a selection of your comments:

A privatised company is just an excuse to sack people and will provide a worse service

10% too stingy, should be 30%, then with all employees getting first chance to buy shares, it could end up with a majority of shares being held by employees. That would be powerful.

Would have supported a true co-operative (like John Lewis)

De-nationalisation is important to ensure that the state does not monopolise power.

This is a disastrous policy, 80% of the public oppose it. Royal Mail is a public service, there are genuine concerns about what this means especially in remote rural areas. It may be a universal service, but once a week? It is also ironic given they are making a profit for the public purse, now that will be lost forever.

Main issue for me is that any deal must ensure the universal service obligation continues in perpetuity

This is no way to finance Government spending (or reduce Government debt). What will we do when we have sold off all the nation’s assets

I’m ashamed at our MPs part in this Tory obsession

Greater efficiencies and better management should be sought within the public sector.

Mixed feelings – oppose privatisation in case future private sector owner hikes prices significantly; in favour if it would mean power of communication workers union could be curbed

Share owning should be wider and with the general public

Lib Dems should hold no dogmatic views on public vs. private

Strongly support principle of sale. Disappointed at small percentage offered to employees but understand reasons behind this.

Fairly ambivalent about it, but this was party policy so we can’t really complain about us carrying it through given everything else that has happened in government when we have gone against policy.

  • 1,500 Lib Dem paid-up party members are registered with Just over 600 responded to the latest survey, which was conducted between 19th and 23rd July.
  • Please note: we make no claims that the survey is fully representative of the Lib Dem membership as a whole. However,’s surveys are the largest independent samples of the views of Lib Dem members across the country, and have in the past offered accurate guides to what party members think.
  • For further information on the reliability/credibility of our surveys, please refer to FAQs: Are the Liberal Democrat Voice surveys of party members accurate? and polling expert Anthony Wells’ verdict, On that poll of Lib Dem members.
  • The full archive of our members’ surveys can be viewed at
  • * Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum, and also writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.

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