Richard Hooper is a former deputy chair of Ofcom who was asked to look at the postal system (size and scale of distribution network, does it need to "modernise").
His report will be published this week, so look out for it.
Peter Mandelson is the minister who will make the decision. He's already told the Financial Times that he wanted to part-privatise the Royal Mail ten years ago, when he was head of the DTI. The current fear is that the government will take over the pension liabilities of Royal Mail (it has a £22 billion pension scheme), thus making it more attractive to buy.
Keeping the Royal Mail publicly-owned was a Labour manifesto commitment. Privatisation would also contradict the policy agreed by Labour’s National Policy Forum for a "wholly publicly owned, integrated Royal Mail group."
It's surprising that services that benefit everyone (the post, the railways, the buses) either remain in private hands, or may go that way, after 11 years of a Labour government.
Services that benefit everyone shouldn't be run for profit. If the Royal Mail is run for profit, there will be profitable parts of a city or a region and unprofitable ones. There will be profitable areas of postal delivery (next day business) and unprofitable ones. Large areas of the country (rural areas, more deprived urban areas) will lose out under part-privatisation, or a full sell-off.
How can that be a good thing at a time of economic instability?