I can understand the desire to raise some large chunk of money to try to save local post offices, but there are two essential weaknesses in selling off a minority shareholding in the Royal Mail to do so:
- The sell-off gets in capital money, not revenue, and the Post Office network needs money every year, not a one-off infusion of cash.
- Either the minority shareholding will mean that the Royal Mail is a commercial profit-taking business, in which case we might as well have privatised it in the first place, or the co-operative/state sector 51% will be able to resist short-term profit-taking pressures, in which case the shares won't be worth anything and we won't raise the money we want to.
If we feel that an injection of cash from the Royal Mail will turn the Post Office network back into a profitable business, then bonds could be issued on the open market on behalf of the Royal Mail corporation before it is separated from the public sector, with that money turned over to the Post Office. If a more long-term revenue stream is wanted, then give a chunk of the RM shares to the PO – that would create a long-term stream of revenue. Obviously, if the money is to be directed to unprofitable sub-post-offices, then it would need to be done through a trust mechanism, rather than directly to the top-line of POCL.