By Claire West

Business secretary Vince Cable said updates to the Hooper report, published on Friday, paint a clear picture of the way forward for the Royal Mail.

“As Richard Hooper’s report shows, Royal Mail is in terrible difficulty — it is facing a declining market, huge pension deficit and needs to modernise.

“We are committed to finding a solution that ensures a sustainable future for Royal Mail, value for money for the taxpayer and a stake in the company for its employees. Something Labour failed to do.

“No option for how we introduce private investment has been ruled in or out — we need flexibility in legislation to get the best outcome for Royal Mail.

“On the separate issue of the Post Office network, the Post Office network is not for sale. There will be no programme of closures.”

Commenting on the SNP attack on the Business Secretary over the future of the Royal Mail, Liberal Democrat MP Malcolm Bruce said:

“The SNP is scaremongering as usual. The Hooper review makes it clear that Royal Mail is in dire straits and we need to sort it out.

“If we sat back and did nothing, as the SNP would clearly prefer, the vital services Royal Mail provide would disintegrate.

“Our plans offer employees shares in their own company, a stake in the future of Royal Mail, which is a long-held Liberal Democrat policy.

“The SNP is deliberately mixing up steps to rescue Royal Mail with the future of Post Offices. This is unbelievably irresponsible.

“Vince Cable is taking the necessary steps to secure our mail services for the future. There is no programme of closures planned, as under the Labour Government, because we recognise the value of our Post Offices, particularly those in rural and remote areas.”