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Provision of universal postal service

4.—(1) For subsection (1) of section 59 of the 1981 Act (general duty of the Post Office) there shall be substituted the following subsections–

(1) It shall be the duty of the Post Office (consistently with any directions given to it under the provisions of Part III of the 1969 Act or this Part) so to exercise its powers as to provide a universal postal service throughout the United Kingdom, except in so far as–

(a)any part of such a service is provided by other persons; or

(b)the provision of any part of such a service is, in its opinion, impracticable or not reasonably practicable.

(1A) For the purposes of subsection (1), a universal postal service is provided if–

(a)at least one delivery of postal packets is made every working day to each postal address in the United Kingdom;

(b)at least one collection of postal packets is made every working day from each collection point designated by the Post Office;

(c)postal services for the collection, sorting, transport and delivery of postal packets–

(i)whose weight does not exceed 20 kilograms; and

(ii)whose dimensions fall within the permitted limits, are provided at affordable prices determined in accordance with a public tariff which is uniform throughout the United Kingdom; and

(d)a registered post service is provided at such prices.

(2) For subsection (3) of that section there shall be substituted the following subsection–

(3) Subsection (1) shall not be taken to preclude the Post Office from–

(a)interrupting, suspending or restricting, in cases of emergency, any service provided by it; or

(b)concluding with customers individual agreements as to prices.

(3) After subsection (5) of that section there shall be inserted the following subsection–

(6) In this section–