Sale of Royal Mail to include biggest ever staff share plan

THE plan to privatise the Royal Mail will see the largest employee share scheme in history, Vince Cable said yesterday as he published the Postal Services Bill.

Cable said a guaranteed ten per cent of the newly-privatised Royal Mail would ultimately be reserved for the service’s current 150,000 staff, all of whom would have the right to buy into the business.

It would be the “largest share ownership scheme within a privatised company in history” said Ed Davey, the minister for employment relations, consumer and postal affairs, who will oversee the bill’s passage through parliament.

The largest employee share scheme to date was in 1984 when British Telecom was listed on the stock market. Its 100,000 employees were able to buy five per cent of the new company.

If it is carried out in the same way as previous schemes, staff will be offered shares at a preferential price through pay-as-you-earn schemes.

The employee share scheme will be administered separately by the government before the business is sold to a buyer or floated on the London stock exchange.