Cable grilled for third time over Royal Mail

THE PRICING of Royal Mail shares will be in the spotlight again this week as business secretary Vince Cable faces a third bruising round of questions over the sell-off.

Both Cable and business minister Michael Fallon have been recalled by the Business Select Committee to give further evidence tomorrow on the privatisation, and whether the shares were sold too cheaply.

In October last year the government sold 60 per cent of Royal Mail at 330 pence per share, ending 500-years of state control and raising £2bn for the public purse. However the company’s share price has since risen by as much as 87 per cent, drawing heavy criticism from trade unions and the opposition Labour party. A report by the National Audit Office said taxpayers had been short-changed by at least £750m.

Cable appeared before the committee twice last year, both before and after the initial public offering (IPO) had been completed.

Meanwhile the Public Accounts Committee will hold two sessions on the subject, questioning the Financial Conduct Authority today and bankers from UBS and Goldman Sachs as well as financial advisers Lazard on Wednesday.