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Is the Royal Mail being primed for a sell-off?

News that first-class stamps in UK will rise by 3p to 39p from April 2009, which is roughly twice the rate of inflation, is seen by many as further evidence that the Royal Mail will soon be sold off by the government. This latest rise comes on the back of potentially tens of thousands of job cuts, a partial sell-off to Dutch group TNT and concern about the state of the company's pension fund. There are rumours that the taxpayer will need to inject substantial amounts of money into the pension fund to steady the ship ahead of a possible sell-off.

Gordon Brown and the government stand accused of selling off the UK silver to pay for the excesses of the last decade which has resulted in one of the deepest recessions the UK has seen for over 50 years. Nobody quite knows when the slowdown will end and where it will bottom out but what is certain is that the road back to recovery will be long and very painful. Once Christmas is out of the way the situation should become clearer as the spotlight again falls on the UK retail sector and the property market. Just a few weeks ago many people were suggesting that 2009 would be a year of consolidation but the general consensus now appears to be one of doom and gloom.

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