The privatisation of Royal Mail could threaten the future of Britain’s famous red pillar boxes, critics of the sale have warned.
Royal Mail has largely been responsible for the upkeep of the 115,500 post boxes round the country, but opponents of the sale have expressed concern that pressure from private investors could force the management to reduce costs.
New rules introduced by Ofcom this year state that 98% of homes must be within half a mile of a post box. But their use has been falling in line with a huge reduction in the quantities of stamped mail the Royal Mail handles.
Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna said: “We already know that ministers are disregarding the interests of consumers and small businesses in pursuit of their fire sale of Royal Mail. We know that the delivery offices people rely on could be sold off. But now the historic and much-loved pillar box is being put at risk too.
“The classic red pillar box is a feature of virtually every city, town, village and hamlet across the country, and is an instantly-recognisable British icon known across the globe,” he added.
But Robert Cole, of the Letter Box Study Group, told The Mirror he was reassured by support from the current Royal Mail management.
He said: “The letter box is an advert for the company on every street corner. Why would you want to get rid of them?”