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Question for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

UIN 164469, tabled on 8 March 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will assess the implications for (a) the UK economy and (b) innovation in the UK of Royal Mail's continued ownership of the Postcode Address File as set out under the Postal Services Act 2000; and if he will place that assessment in the Library.

Answered on

16 March 2021

The Government understands the role data plays in delivering benefits in the public and private sectors and the UK has traditionally maintained high quality address data that supports a wide range of uses across the economy.

The Postcode Address File (PAF), owned and maintained by Royal Mail Group, is the definitive list of postal delivery points for the UK and a key enabler of the Universal Service Obligation.

The PAF provides access to the private sector on reasonable terms, which are regulated by Ofcom, with free access to small charities and microbusinesses in their first year. On 1 April 2020, the Government extended the PAF Public Sector Licence for a further 3 years to ensure free at the point of use access to PAF data for all public sector organisations to support the delivery of effective and efficient public services.