The Queen’s head will definitely continue to remain on postage stamps, regardless of who owns the company in the future, the government has confirmed.
Under current rules, there is no legal requirement for stamps to use the Queen’s head – but Royal Mail has always done so voluntarily, by convention.
Last month, discussing the Postal Services Bill – which could put Royal Mail up for sale – Vince Cable, the business secretary, admitted that there weren’t any specific clauses in the bill that would make the Queen’s head a mandatory feature of postage stamps in the future.
But this weekend, the government announced that it will include an extra safeguard in the bill to save the Queen’s head from being chopped off.
“We’ve always been aware that the bill didn’t contain a specific clause to require all stamps to bear the Queen’s image,” says postal affairs minister Edward Davey.
“But after listening to the views of members of both Houses of Parliament and raising the matter with the palace, we’ve not agreed this additional safeguard. I’m sure it will provide everyone with extra reassurance.
The British monarch’s head has been a key feature of Royal Mail stamps since the Penny Black was issued in 1840.
“It’s unthinkable that Royal Mail stamps wouldn’t have the image of the monarch, so we strongly support any measure that fully protects that key feature of our stamps,” adds Moya Greene, CEO of Royal Mail.
Postal Services Bill
The Postal Services Bill, which will have its final stages in the House of Commons on Wednesday January 12, aims to keep Royal Mail up and going, as the institution has bit hard-hit in recent years.
The need for private sector investment into Royal Mail is obvious: Royal Mail has been suffering from falling mail volumes, has a multi-billion pound pension deficit, and needs more capital in order to survive.
The Postal Services Bill will allow Royal Mail to benefit from an injection of private capital and will see the institution see its enormous historic pension deficit relieved by the government.