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Postal Services Act 2000

Section 69: Guarantees by the Secretary of State for the Post Office company and its subsidiaries

104.Section 69 empowers the Secretary of State to give guarantees in respect of any financial obligation of the Post Office company or its subsidiaries. This power is taken because under Treasury guidance, it is usual practice for nationalised industries which are borrowing from non-Government sources (e.g. to provide an overdraft facility) to obtain a Government guarantee to secure the cheapest available funds for the public sector. However, this may not be appropriate in all circumstances, and it is not envisaged that this power would be used often in the case of the Post Office or its subsidiaries.

105.The Secretary of State must make a statement to Parliament about the giving of any such guarantees as soon as practicable after they have been given. If any payments are made by the Secretary of State under a guarantee, the Secretary of State will direct the terms (as to interest and capital) on which the monies are repayable by the Post Office company or, as relevant, by the subsidiary.

106.As soon as practicable after the end of any financial year in which any monies were paid by the Secretary of State in respect of a guarantee, a statement will be laid before each House of Parliament stating the sums paid. A statement will also be laid before each House as soon as practicable after the end of each financial year regarding the amount of any outstanding debt or obligation which is the subject of the guarantee given by the Secretary of State. This will allow Parliament to be informed about the remaining risk under any outstanding guarantees. In addition, the statement laid must include any amounts received by the Secretary of State during the financial year concerned in repayment of sums, or interest on sums, paid by the Secretary of State in fulfilment of any guarantee given under this section. The statement must also include any amount outstanding and unpaid at the end of the financial year in respect of the sums paid by the Secretary of State. This will allow Parliament to be informed of what has been paid back to the Government by the Post Office company or its subsidiaries in respect of any guarantees fulfilled by the Secretary of State and what amounts remain to be repaid. These statements will cover both the principal and the interest and are intended as an aid to public accountability.

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