The Royal Mail is stifling innovation and increasing costs for this country through charging for the Postcode Address File (PAF) at monopoly prices. Local Authorities who provide the Royal Mail with some of the raw data for the PAF in the form of details of new streets are amongst the hardest hit.
This week the Royal Mail got it's lawyers to send a Cease and Desist letter to ErnestMarples.com, a site set up by Richard Pope and Harry Metcalfe to help people find work, planning applications and health services through a series of sites using the PAF. They have had to shut down the site.
Tom Watson MP, whilst a minister, had already started a conversation with the Royal Mail about freeing up the data for the nation and he has written again to Adam Crozier asking him to apply his "considerable talents" to find a solution., He is also raising the issue with ministers next week in Parliament.
I've written to Ken Clarke MP and John Thurso MP, who are the Shadow Business ministers for the Conservatives and LibDems, to add their support and make it a cross-party effort. Why don't you do the same?
Here is what I wrote:
The Royal Mail as the legal owner of the Postcode Address File recently sent a Cease and Desist letter to the owners of a company called ErnestMarples.com. The company was using the PAF to provide free services to citizens looking for work through JobCentreProPlus.com and to find what Planning Applications were being made in their area through PlanningAlerts.com. It is a not-for-profit company. More information is at: http://ernestmarples.com/blog/
It is the belief of many people in this country that the PAF is a national asset that should be made freely available. In doing so the revenue and savings from the innovation unleashed will far outweigh the £11 million income being made by the Royal Mail.
Tom Watson MP started a conversation with the Royal Mail whilst he was a minister, has written to Adam Crozier, and is raising the subject with ministers next week. I am asking you to also write to Adam Crozier to make it clear that all political parties are in favour of freeing up this extremely valuable asset. Tom's letter can be found at: http://www.tom-watson.co.uk/2009/10/postcodes-adam-crozier-letter/
If you do not agree with the points being made I would appreciate an answer to explain why.