Around the world - Sweden, New Zealand, Germany, Netherlands - postal services have been liberalised and the public is getting better services at lower cost. Yet the UK - the pioneer of privatisation in the 1980s still lumbers along with a state-owned post office that is now losing large amounts of money. Ian Senior says it's time for the Post Office to embrace competition, develop new services, and start making money...and he identifies some precise opportunities to that end.
A new ASI report suggests that Britain should follow Sweden, Norway, Holland and Belgium in asking people to pay the first £60 of their annual prescriptions bills. This would bring an extra £2 billion into the NHS, cut the waste of 'free' medicines that are never taken, and would allow patients to weigh up whether expensive new medicines – unavailable on the NHS today – were really worth paying for. Is £60 too much? It's only a sixth of what the poorest families already spend on booze, betting and baccy, says author Ian Senior.
The Post Office is not a natural monopoly whose market is difficult to contest. There is no interdependence between the three services: letters, parcels and counters thus they should be separated and privatized within a framework of 3-5 years.