Vince Cable spectacularly 'duped' the taxpayer in allowing the 60 per cent stake in the Royal Mail to be sold off too cheaply, Unite, the largest union in the country, said today (Wednesday 27 November).
Unite, which represents 7,000 Royal Mail managers, was commenting as the Royal Mail announced that its operating profits nearly doubled to £283 million for the six months to 29 September from £144 million a year earlier.
Since the 60 per cent stake in the Royal Mail was sold off last month to private investors there has been mounting criticism that the shares were sold off too cheaply and also of the advice given to business secretary Vince Cable by his City advisers.
Unite officer representing the Royal Mail managers Brian Scott said: "It is clear that the chickens are coming home to roost very quickly for Vince Cable and he has spectacularly failed the UK taxpayer.
"Ministers alleged, wrongly as it has turned out, that the Royal Mail couldn't operate successfully in the public sector which was why it needed to be sold off at what was a bargain basement price. Today's profit figures highlight how the taxpayer has been hoodwinked by that spurious argument and sold down the river.
"The business secretary, a Cambridge University trained economist, was bamboozled by the advice from his City advisors by allowing the shares to be sold at 330p, as the price has soared since then.
"The loser is the UK taxpayer as the Royal Mail was a viable business before the sell off – and now money that should be flowing into the Treasury for schools and hospitals is going into the pockets of private investors.
"Services and staff were slimmed down so that profits could be fattened up for the sell off."
Last week, Unite was critical of the Royal Mail's management after the regulator Ofcom told the company it must improve 'important aspects' of the service it provides to postal users after failing to deliver 93 per cent of all first class letters the day after they were posted, only achieving 91.7 per cent.