Royal Mail sell-off shelved

<div>THE government yesterday shelved controversial plans for a part-privatisation of the Royal Mail due to the depressed state of the economy.<br /><br />Business Secretary Lord Mandelson told the House of Lords that &ldquo;market conditions&rdquo;&nbsp;had made it &ldquo;impossible&rdquo; to complete a deal on &ldquo;favourable terms.&rdquo;<br /><br />He added there was &ldquo;no prospect&rdquo; of the proposed sale of up to 30 per cent of Royal Mail, but said the government &ldquo;will return to the issue&rdquo; when market conditions improve, without forecasting when he believed that might be.<br /><br />The dramatic u-turn over the partial sell-off has been seen as fresh evidence of government paralysis, and an effort to avoid confrontation&nbsp;with unions and backbenchers over the controversial plans before an election.<br /><br />Royal Mail&rsquo;s pension deficit is expected to increase to &pound;9bn later this year.&nbsp;</div>