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Posts Tagged ‘Highlands’

Postman Pat

Calls for an independent Scotland have focused on a variety of economic issues. These have included taxation, government spending, currency, fiscal policy and monetary policy. However, the BBC News article below looks at another factor which may be affected by a ‘yes’ vote – the price of stamps.

Having just returned from 10 days in the Highlands, I certainly agree with the BBC article that it would be an expensive business to deliver to the remotest parts of Scotland and would definitely require ‘trains, planes, ferries, Land Rovers and vans’ and, in an extreme case, a fishing boat.

So is the price we pay for postage to less rural areas of the UK used to subsidise the higher costs of delivery to the remotest parts of Scotland and, in particular, to the small islands off the Scottish coastline? What would a ‘yes’ vote mean for the cost of stamps in Scotland and in the remainder of the UK? The following articles consider this rather odd question.

Why postage should be cheaper in UK if Scots vote ‘Yes’ BBC News, Brian Milligan (19/4/14)
Tories warn over post service costs The Courier (6/4/14)

Questions

  1. What happened when the Royal Mail was privatised?
  2. What are the benefits and costs of privatisation?
  3. Using a cost and revenue diagram, explain how the different costs of delivery between urban parts of the UK and the remotest parts of Scotland should be reflected in different prices of postage.
  4. If the price of postage is the same for delivery everywhere in the UK, use your diagram to explain how this happens.
  5. What does your diagram suggest will happen to the price of postage stamps if a ‘subsidy’ is no longer available?
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