Mr. Anthony D. Wright
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry when the remaining provisions of the Postal Services Act 2000 will come into force; and if he will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Alan Johnson
I have now made a further Commencement Order to bring into force by today the remaining major provisions of the Postal Services Act 2000. The order includes a number of provisions smoothing the transition to the new statutory framework, and applying the schemes under which the Post Office has traditionally carried out its postal and postal order business to the future Post Office company and its subsidiaries. The only provisions of the new Act still to be commenced are a few repeals of the Post Office Act 1969 which are being retained until the Post Office is dissolved in accordance the new Act.
The new Act will thus became fully operational today and the business of the Post Office has been transferred to the company nominated as the Post Office company, ie Consignia Holdings plc. The operational functions of the Post Office company will be carried out by its wholly owned subsidiary, Consignia plc.
In accordance with Part II of the Act, the Postal Services Commission has granted a licence to Consignia plc permitting it to provide the postal services which are restricted under section 6 of the Act, and requiring it to provide a universal postal service throughout the whole of the United Kingdom at a uniform tariff. Consignia plc 439W (registered number 4138203 of 148 Old Street, London EC1V 9HQ) is thus a universal service provider for the purposes of the Postal Services Act 2000.
My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry has confirmed the appointment of the current members of the Post Office as the initial directors of the Post Office company and the directors of Consignia plc.
The implementation of the Act and the issuing of the licence heralds the completion of the reform programme described in July 1999 in the Post Office Reform White Paper and sets in place a Post Office company with the greater commercial freedom that it needs to meet the challenges of the changing postal markets, and provides the framework in which postal users can look forward to the evolution of the modern and effective postal services that are essential for the business and social life of the nation in the 21st century.