Two-thirds of public oppose Royal Mail sell-off

William JordanUS Elections Editor
July 11, 2013, 8:20 AM GMT+0

Two-thirds of British adults oppose the privatisation of the Royal Mail, including 36% of Britons who "strongly oppose" it

Yesterday Business Secretary Vince Cable laid out the details of the sell-off of the Royal Mail, confirming that the postal service will be floated on the London Stock Exchange. Mr Cable also confirmed plans to give 10% of the shares in the newly privatised Royal Mail to postal service employees for free, while making the other 90% available for purchase by the public. YouGov can now reveal that the changes are opposed by a majority of the British public.

New YouGov research shows the privatisation of the Royal Mail is opposed by 67% of British adults, and supported by 20%. Most of the passion about the plans appears to be among those who oppose it: 36% of Britons "strongly oppose" privatisation, compared to only 4% who strongly support it.

Labour, Lib Dem and UKIP supporters oppose the sell-off by majorities of 78%-11%, 72%-17% and 76%-18%, respectively. Conservative voters are less opposed, but still tend to oppose the plans by 48%-40%. Additionally, while only 8% of Conservative voters “strongly support” the sell-off, 20% “strongly oppose” it; among Labour, those who “strongly oppose” outnumber those who "stongly support" it by a ratio of almost 25 to 1.

Yesterday Royal Mail was named as the second most improved brand for the first-half of 2013, according to YouGov BrandIndex, which tracks consumer perceptions.

The sell-off is opposed by campaigners and some unions, including the Communications Workers Union (CWU), of which a majority of Royal Mail workers are members. In a document published on the the government’s official website (GOV.UK), titled “Royal Mail: Myth Busters” the government argues that the Royal Mail, an institution founded in 1516, needs access to private capital in order to “innovate”, and insists the move will not "undo the good work that has already been done" to improve the postal service.

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