Watch out for Stephen Gibson’s latest appearances on TV, Radio and in the Press
1 March 2019 – Interview on Radio 5 Wake Up To Money about Britbox
Stephen Gibson was interviewed by Sean Farrington and Micky Clark on Radio 5’s Wake Up To Money about the regulatory implications of the BBC and ITV’s new Britbox streaming service. This will allow subscribers in the UK to view the broadcasters’ huge back catalogue of programmes. Stephen said that the position is very different from the previous proposal (code-named ‘Kangeroo’) put forward by BBC, ITV and Channel 4 in 2008-09. Kangeroo was rejected by the Competition Commission because of concerns that it would damage the position of other players in the market like Netflix and Amazon Video which were at the time just starting up. In this case the key question is whether Britbox will survive in the market given the much stronger position of competitors today. He thought that regulatory approval of Britbox would not be a problem, and that its revenues would help to fund public service broadcasting and take some of the pressure off the licence fee. Use the link below to listen to the interview
1 March 2019 – Stephen Gibson appointed to the CAA’s Senior Advisory Panel
Stephen Gibson has been appointed to the CAA’s Senior Advisory Panel overseeing and challenging the development of the regulatory framework for Heathrow. Stephen is one of four experts who have been chosen to advise on key policy decisions surrounding the regulation and expansion of Heathrow Airport.
30 January 2019 – Stephen Gibson attends reception for Bowel Cancer UK in House of Commons
Stephen Gibson attended a Parliamentary Reception at the House of Commons in support of Bowel Cancer UK (BCUK). Stephen who is on BCUK’s Lay Panel and a former Trustee of the charity said that it was a fantastic event with charity supporters, staff, clinicians and Parliamentarians all privileged to hear from Nic Dakin MP, Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Cancer, Steve Brine MP, Minister for Cancer, Deborah Alsina, CEO of BCUK and Lauren Backler who gave a passionate speech about her campaign to lower the age of screening for bowel cancer from 60 to 50
12 December 2018 – Stephen Gibson interviewed by Evan Davis on BBC’s PM programme
Stephen Gibson was interviewed by Evan Davis on Radio 4’s PM programme about how the different parcels operators manage the huge increase in parcels volumes at this time of year. Stephen talked about the 11% increase in parcels volumes last year and how the operators’ networks struggle to manage the seasonal rush which has been extended by Black Friday and Cyber Monday discounts into November.
December 2018 – Seasons Greeting from SLG Economics
4th July 2018 – Stephen Gibson appointed to Lay Review Panel of Bowel Cancer UK
Stephen Gibson has been appointed to the Lay Review Panel of Bowel Cancer UK, helping to review and evaluate the charity’s research strategy. Stephen had previously been a Trustee and Deputy Chairman of BCUK and stood down at the end of 2017 to support the merger with Beating Bowel Cancer. He is delighted to be able to help the charity in this new role.
Business Minister, Lord Henley announced that Stephen Gibson has been appointed to the Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC) by the Secretary of State for Business (The Rt Hon Greg Clarke) following confirmation from No. 10.
The Regulatory Policy Committee is a Non-Departmental Public Body which consists of 8 independent experts with experience of business, employee, consumer and economics issues, supported by a secretariat; Stephen will take on a specialist economist role on the committee.
The RPC provides the government with independent expert scrutiny of new regulatory and deregulatory proposals. It rates the quality of evidence and analysis, and checks the estimates for the cost to business of new regulations. It provides expert advice on the quality of analysis used by departments and regulators in their assessments of economic impact on businesses, voluntary and community bodies from regulatory interventions. The RPC is an essential part of the better regulation system, providing stakeholders with confidence that the costs and benefits from regulatory changes have been properly considered.
Stephen is delighted to accept this exciting new appointment and looks forward to working to ensure that proposals for new government regulations are supported by robust, evidence-based analysis.
20th December 2017 – Stephen Gibson is delighted to support the merger of Bowel Cancer UK and Beating Bowel Cancer
Stephen Gibson, Deputy Chairman of Bowel Cancer UK is delighted to support the merger of Bowel Cancer UK (BCUK) with Beating Bowel Cancer (BBC) to create the UK’s leading bowel cancer charity.
Stephen feels very honoured and privileged to have been part of BCUK over the last 8 years as a Trustee and Deputy Chairman and to have seen it grow and develop into a national charity that is widely respected and highly influential in the national cancer policy arena and is now making great steps in taking forward research into the disease. The merger with BBC is another important step along the way to growing and moving the charity forward and he wishes everyone involved with the new charity a Happy New Year and all the very best for the future. In order to facilitate the merger, Stephen is standing down from the Board of Trustees when the merger formally takes effect in on 1st January 2018, but plans to continue to support and be involved in the charity in the future.
11 December 2017 – Regulators’ Forum
The December meeting of the Regulators’ Forum was held at Fishmongers Hall. The meeting was hosted by Stephen Gibson and the guest speaker was Professor Michael Pollitt, Professor of Business Economics at Judge Business School, Cambridge University who spoke about the Regulation of System Operators, focusing on the results of his research in the electricity sector. The industry speaker was Thomas Carr from the CAA, who spoke about Competition Policy in Airport Regulation.
Stephen Gibson was on the Radio 4 You & Yours program on Thursday 14 September . He was interviewed about the private mail firm Universal Mail. He discussed concerns about their poor service quality – with some postcards to the USA being routed via the Philippines. Universal Mail provide stamps for tourists to send international postcards abroad by posting them in any Royal Mail pillar box or post office, but there are complaints that some of their postcards can take over 2 months to be delivered. Stephen recommended that listeners use Royal Mail, who aim to deliver international mail within 3-5 days within Europe and within 5-7 days to the rest of the world. You can hear the interview at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b093104p
16 November 2017 – City Year Report on Volunteering published
Stephen was delighted to peer review the City Year report on The Economic Value of Full-Time Volunteering through Pro-Bono Economics.The report focused on the potential annual net economic benefits of a full-time volunteer service for young people. Based on a series of assumptions concerning the operating costs of a 10,000 volunteer scheme and the benefits to the volunteer and organisations they are placed with, annual total net benefits were estimated at between £28 and £119 million to the UK economy (i.e. a cost benefit ratio of 1.2 to 1.6).
Stephen Gibson was interviewed on Wake Up To Money on Radio 5 Live about the proposed increase in rail ticket prices. He answered questions from presenters Sean Farrington and Micky Clark about the cost of rail services and the how the increase in rail usage affects rail prices. He explained that regulated fares (most standard and saver return tickets) will increase next year by RPI (3.6%). This means that these ticket prices will have risen by around twice the rate of average earnings over the last 8 years. This is part of a deliberate government policy to increase the share of rail costs paid by passengers in order to reduce the industry subsidy paid by taxpayers.
The September meeting of the Regulators’ Forum was was held on 13 September at Fishmongers Hall. The meeting was hosted by Stephen Gibson and the guest speaker was Andrew Walker, Director of Markets and Performance at the CAA.
Stephen Gibson is an invited guest speaker at the HSF Conference on Connected & Autonomous Vehicles held at Herbert Smith Freehills’ London office on 18 July. He will be on a panel discussing the timelines, public perception, politics and economics of this exciting new technology.
14 June 2017 – Regulators’ Forum
The June meeting of the Regulators’ Forum was on 14th June at Fishmongers Hall. The meeting was hosted by Stephen Gibson and the guest speaker was Professor Richard Green of Imperial College Business School. Richard spoke about regulating low carbon energy. Kerstin McEwan from WICS also spoke about Innovation and Collaboration: Future proofing the water industry for customers.
If you would like to find out more about the Regulators’ Forum please contact Stephen@SLG-Economics.co.uk
9 March 2017 – Response to Citizens Advice work plan 2017/18
SLG Economics has responded to Citizens Advice consultation on their draft consumer work plan for 2017/18.
The response highlighted the importance of Citizens Advice being scrupulously careful to ensure their data is robust and credible, and suggested some areas where they could add value in providing robust evidence and analysis of the postal sector. For a copy of the response or further information please contact Stephen@SLG-Economics.co.uk
7 March 2017 – Regulators’ Forum
The March meeting of the Regulators’ Forum was on 7th March at Fishmongers Hall. The meeting was hosted by Stephen Gibson and the guest speaker was Alena Kozakova, Chief Economist of Ofwat. Alena spoke about the Ofwat’s proposals for opening up the non-household retail water market to competition and the challenges that gives rise to for Ofwat. Siobhan Carty from ORR also gave a presentation on ORR’s periodic review of Network Rail’s charges.
If you would like to find out more about the Regulators’ Forum please contact Stephen@SLG-Economics.co.uk
1st March 2017 – Interview on Radio 5 about Ofcom’s review of Royal Mail
Stephen Gibson was interviewed on Radio 5 Live by Colletta Smith, discussing Ofcom’s statement on the regulation of Royal Mail . He said that Royal Mail needed to do more to recognise the shift in posting patterns – with large number of parcels being sent on Black Friday and Cyber Monday – otherwise they will continue to miss their quality of service targets and provide a poor service to customers when they most use their services.
5th December 2016 – appointment as expert competition advisor
Stephen Gibson has been asked to work as an advisor within Europe Economics’ Competition Economics Practice, providing expert competition economics advice and consultancy support to a wide range of clients.
1st December 2016 – Regulators’ Forum
The September meeting of the Regulators’ Forum was held on 28th September at Fishmongers Hall. The meeting was hosted by Stephen Gibson and the guest speaker was David Stubbs, Chief Economist of Consumer Advice. David spoke about the role of Consumer Advice in lobbying for consumer policy policies as well as providing advice and support to individuals.
If you would like to find out more about the Regulators’ Forum please contact Stephen@SLG-Economics.co.uk
28th September 2016 – Regulators’ Forum
The September meeting of the Regulators’ Forum was held on 28th September at Fishmongers Hall. The meeting was hosted by Stephen Gibson and the guest speaker was Michael Byrne, Chief Executive of the Channel Islands Competition and Regulatory Authority (CICRA). Michael spoke about the role of CICRA in regulating telecoms, electricity, ports and post in the Channel Islands.
20 May 2016 – Article in The Times questioning the need for a six day postal service
Stephen Gibson has written an article in the Thunderer section of The Times http://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/comment/who-needs-their-letters-delivered-six-days-a-week-9bclb096b He questions whether we need a six day a week universal service that was designed before email and suggests we should rethink our postal service to one more appropriate to the modern digital age.
Stephen’s article provoked lively debate and several letters in the Times of 21 May:
19 May 2016 – Interview on BBC Business, Radio 4 and Radio 5 about Royal Mail’s results
Stephen Gibson was interviewed on BBC Business, by Rob Young on Radio 4’s Today programme and by Adam Parsons on Radio 5Live about Royal Mail’s financial results. He recognised that it was a bit of a mixed bag with a strong performance from GLS – Royal Mail’s European parcels operator, propping up the continued 3% decline of the letters business and a disappointing 1% growth in parcels – well below the parcels industry and a sign that they are losing market share. He said that this was not sustainable over the long term.
See the BBC Business interview at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_MKdEIfOjU
Interview by Adam Parsons on Radio 5Live:
Interview by Rob Young on the Today programme on Radio 4:
January – May 2016 – Interim Chief Economist, Ofwat
Stephen Gibson has been appointed as interim Chief Economist at Ofwat, helping them with their Water 2020 regulatory review of wholesale water and wastewater markets and directing the impact assessment of their policy proposals.
David Black, Senior Director, Water 2020, Ofwat commented:
“Stephen joined the Water 2020 programme between January and May 2016 to support and challenge the development of our policy leading up to Ofwat’s May decision document. I was very pleased with Stephen’s input into this work, working independently with little management required, Stephen helped us to substantially develop and improve the evidence base for our policy proposals whilst ensuring a greater degree of economic coherence across our work.”
21st April 2016 – Regulators’ Forum
The April meeting of the Regulators’ Forum was held on 21st April at Fishmongers Hall. The meeting was hosted by Stephen Gibson and the guest speaker was Dr Andrew Smith, who presented on the Impacts of Economic Regulation on the Efficiency of European Railway Systems.
Andrew is a Senior Lecturer in Transport Regulation and Economics at the Institute for Transport Studies, University of Leeds. He specialises in the field of cost and efficiency modelling and also in infrastructure access pricing and marginal cost research, rail regulation and the impact of rail reforms on economic efficiency. Andrew provide technical advice to ORR on econometric modelling during the 2008 and 2013 periodic reviews. Andrew is also academic advisor to Ofwat on econometric benchmarking.
6th January 2016 – Interview with Mark Forrest on BBC Radio 5 about 500th anniversary of Royal Mail
To mark the 500th anniversary of postal services in the UK, Stephen Gibson was invited onto BBC Radio, on the Mark Forrest radio show to comment on the history of posts and prospects for Royal Mail going forward.
Stephen talked about how historically mail was the primary form of communication, but that it was now losing volume to email, the internet and other digital forms of communication. He commented on the possibility, if this trend continues, of it being necessary to subsidize Royal Mail or to relax the universal service – perhaps by moving to a 3 day per week service or a 2 day rather than next day service.
12th January 2016 – Regulators’ Forum
The January meeting of the Regulators’ Forum was held on Tuesday 12th January at Fishmongers Hall. The meeting was hosted by Stephen Gibson and the guest speaker was John Smith, who spoke on the regulation of publicly owned utilities. John is a former Director of Regulation at Railtrack and Anglian Water and has been a member of the Competition Commission from 2005-2013.
SLG Economics has been accepted on the Ofgem Framework panel for Competition & Market Behaviour and for Policy Development & Implementation. This allows SLG Economics to tender for contracts across the different economic regulators as well as for various government tenders.
8th October 2015 – Interview on Radio 5Live about Hutchinson’s takeover of O2
Stephen Gibson was interviewed by Rob Young on Radio 5 about comments from Sharon White (Ofcom’s Chief Executive) about Hutchinson Whampoa’s £10.2bn proposed takeover of O2, which would merge the 3 and O2 mobile networks in the UK and reduce competition in the mobile market from 4 to 3 players. Stephen said that a similar merger in Denmark had recently been blocked by the European Commission over competition concerns and that a 4 to 3 merger in Austria had led to prices rises of 28%.
17th September 2015 – Regulators’ Forum
The Regulators’ Forum was held at Fishmongers’ Hall, London on Thursday 17th September. The meeting was hosted by Stephen Gibson and the guest speaker was Chris Bolt who talked about the development of economic regulation in the UK.
Chris has had a very distinguished career, working in the field of economic regulation for more than twenty-five years. As well as working in the GES and Ofwat, Chris has been Rail Regulator (1998-1999), Regulation and Corporate Affairs Director at Transco plc (1999-2002), Arbiter for the London Underground PPP (2002-2011) and Chairman of the Office of Rail Regulation (2004-2009). Chris has given 3 Beesley regulation lectures and has commented widely on the state of economic regulation in public lectures and papers. He was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath in the New Year Honours 2010.
21st July 2015 – Interview on Radio 5Live about Ofcom’s plan to review Royal Mail’s regulatory framework
Stephen Gibson was interviewed by Adam Parsons on Radio 5 about Royal Mail’s recent trading update statement and Ofcom’s plans to review the regulatory framework for Royal Mail in the light of Whistl’s withdrawal from letter delivery in the UK – leaving Royal Mail as the de facto monopoly. Stephen said that given the lack of competitive efficiency incentives, Ofcom might be considering the reintroduction of price caps for some of Royal Mail’s services or other tighter regulatory measures
4th June 2015 – Interview on BBC News about Government selling their remaining stake in Royal Mail
Stephen Gibson was interviewed by Simon McCoy on BBC News about the Government’s decision to sell their remaining 30% stake in Royal Mail. Stephen said that this would not affect the universal service obligation which was enshrined in primary legislation, but that the real challenge was whether having completed the privatisation of Royal Mail, ministers would be able to respect the private nature of the company and keep politics out of the business. When asked whether Royal Mail should still be allowed to use the term ‘Royal’ in its name, he suggested that maybe we should ask the Queen!
11th May 2015 – Interview on Sky News about Whistl’s suspension of services
Stephen Gibson was interviewed by Ian King on Sky News about Whistl’s suspension of service and whether it might be possible for another player to enter the letter delivery market. Stephen thought this very unlikely and said that it heralded the end of letter delivery competition in the UK.
11th May 2015 – Interview on BBC News about Whistl’s suspension of services
Stephen Gibson was also interviewed on the BBC News about Whistl’s suspension of services following the withdrawal of financial backing from private equity group LDC.
Stephen Gibson was interviewed by Rob Young on Radio 5 Live about Whistl (formerly TNT Post) suspending their mail delivery services in London, Liverpool and Manchester. As well as up to 2000 workers losing their jobs, this could mean the end of the only direct competition to Royal Mail in letter delivery.
7th April 2015 – Interview on BBC World Business Report about FedEx’s bid for TNT
Stephen Gibson was interviewed by Aaron Heslehurst on World Business Report on BBC World TV about FedEx’s $4.8bn bid for TNT Express just two years after the previous bid by UPS had been blocked by the European Competition Authorities. Stephen said that he thought the two companies were a good fit and that the take-over would allow FedEx to grow their business in Europe where they currently have leas than 2% market share. Stephen did not think that the Competition Authorities would block the move as the combined business would only have a market share of around 17%.
25th March 2015 – Interview on Radio 5 Live about 3’s take-over of O2
Stephen Gibson was interviewed by Adam Parsons on Radio 5’s Breakfast Programme about 3’s take-over of O2. Stephen said that Ofcom would not be keen on the merger as they had previously fought hard to keep four mobile operators in the UK market when they sold the 4G spectrum. However the final decision would be taken by the European competition authority who had previously allowed mergers which reduced competition from four to three operators in Ireland, Germany and Austria . He said that the regulators were likely to require 3 to offer access on their network to virtual mobile operators such as Virgin, Talk Talk and Tesco Mobile.
Stephen said that there was a risk that the competitive data packages offered by 3 may be withdrawn in future as they seek to add an extra 30 million customers to their network, but that existing customer contracts would not be under threat. The £10bn sale was a good deal for Telefonica (the owners of O2) who had been looking to sell their mobile phone business for some time and valued their business at 7 to 8 times earnings.
12th March 2015 – Interview on Radio 5 Live about the Postal USO
Stephen Gibson was interviewed on Wake Up To Money on BBC Radio 5 about the BIS Select Committee’s report on the postal services sector and the Universal Service Obligation (USO). Stephen said that the BIS committee had missed the point and that by far the largest threat to the USO came from digital substitution rather than from postal competition. Giving greater powers to Ofcom would not help to solve this problem.
5th February 2015 – Interview on Radio 5 Live about BT’s purchase of EE
Stephen Gibson was interviewed on Wake Up To Money on BBC Radio 5 Live by Adam Parsons and Mickey Clarke about BT’s plans to finalise their £12.5bn purchase of EE, Britain’s largest mobile network.
Stephen talked about how BT would finance the deal, the opportunities it allowed for selling ‘quadplay’ – packages of fixed, mobile, TV and broadband services and the two possible regulatory obstacles: having to dispose of some spectrum and closer regulatory monitoring of backhaul (which is operated by BT for all the mobile operators) to ensure that there is no discrimination in favour of its own mobile service.
23rd January 2015 – Interview on Radio 5Live and Radio Berkshire
Stephen Gibson was interviewed on BBC Radio 5Live about the proposed mobile phone merger of O2 and 3. Stephen was concerned that the creation of a ‘mobile monster’ with over 40% of the market could reduce competition and lead to higher bills – especially since the reduction from 4 to 3 operators in Austria had exactly that effect.
Stephen was also interviewed about the merger on Radio Berkshire, since both 3 and O2 have offices there and there are concerns about the impact of the merger on employment in the region
29th December 2014 – Interview on BBC News and Radio5 Live
Stephen Gibson was interviewed for the BBC 6pm News and on Radio 5Live about the parcels carrier City Link being placed into administration. Stephen said that even though parcels volumes have been growing, margins have been squeezed by the growth in competition, particularly from Amazon who have started doing their own deliveries. City Link have been struggling for some time with poor trading results and having to write-down losses, so it is no surprise that they have called in the administrators, however it will leave customers and suppliers struggling with unsecured debts and having to trace undelivered parcels.
17th December 2014 – Regulators’ Forum
The Regulators’ Forum was held at Fishmongers’ Hall, London on Wednesday 17th December. The meeting was hosted by Stephen Gibson and the guest speaker was Richard Moriarty who gave his reflections on UK economic regulation. Richard is currently Director of Regulation at Affinity Water and is moving at the end of PR14 to be CEO of the Legal Services Board. Richard has previously been Deputy CEO of Postcomm and Director of Regulation at the CAA.
16th December 2014 – Interview on Wake Up To Money on BBC 5Live
Stephen Gibson was interviewed by Adam Parsons on BBC 5Live about BT’s plans to buy EE – the largest mobile operator. Stephen said that the take-over of the largest mobile operator by the largest fixed line operator would offer huge opportunities for ‘Quadruple play’ – offering Fixed, Mobile, Broadband and TV in one package and for cross-selling BT’s fixed line services to EE’s 24 million customers. However, Ofcom would need to take a close look at the impacts for back-haul services (which BT Wholesale currently provides to all mobile operators) and may also require the combined business to dispose of some of the 4G spectrum which BT bought in the recent spectrum auction.
November 2014 – SLG Economics responds to BIS Consultation on Economic Regulators
SLG Economics argued that the BIS consultation was too narrow and considered only a limited set of options and that there was limited awareness within regulators of developments at other regulators. The response suggested that greater use of the Regulators’ Forum would help to bridge the gap and be a highly effective way for regulatory staff to keep up to date with developments in UK regulatory practice.
The response also said that for the UKRN to be effective it needed to avoid mimicking the JRG in losing its profile and focus over time. One approach might be to have regular reviews of their outputs and effectiveness.
20th November 2014 – Interview on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
Stephen Gibson was interviewed on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire about the future of Royal Mail and the universal postal service. Stephen pointed out that whereas the requirement on BT to provide telephone boxes had been relaxed to reflect the growth of mobile phones, there had been no change in the universal postal service even though it was designed for a time when mail services were the primary form of communication.
19th November 2014 – Interview on Radio 5 Live Business Program
Stephen Gibson was interviewed by Rob Pittam on Radio 5 Live Business Program. Stephen was asked about Royal Mail’s half year results which are rather disappointing – letter volumes down, parcels revenue down, operating costs up and productivity below expectations. Stephen said that given the difficulties that Royal Mail faces we need to have a sensible conversation about what sort of universal postal service we want for the future and whether we really need collections and deliveries 6 days a week to every address in the country.
12th September 2014 – Interview on ITN News
Stephen Gibson has been interviewed by ITN News and the News at Ten alongside Vince Cable discussing the impact of Scottish independence for the Royal Mail. He discussed the cost to the government of renationalising Royal Mail Scotland and the on-going subsidy that would be required to maintain postal services in Scotland. He said that 1st and 2nd class stamps in Scotland could need to increase to 80p and 70p respectively to fund the higher delivery costs. See it at http://youtu.be/xlshAWrGzow and on ITV’s website
17th September 2014 – Regulators’ Forum
The September meeting of the Regulators ‘Forum was held at Watermen’s Hall. The guest speaker was Sarah Chambers. Sarah is a Panel Member of the Competition & Markets Authority, the Judicial Appointments Commission, Bar Standards Board and Civil Aviation Authority Consumer Panel. She was previously Director of Consumer & Competition Policy at the Department of Business and Chief Executive of Postcomm, the postal services regulator. Sarah spoke about her recent experience as a Competition Commission panel member on the appeal of the Northern Ireland Electricity decision.
22 July 2014 – Interview on Sky TV
Stephen Gibson was again interviewed on Sky News, talking to Ian King about Royal Mail’s first quarter trading results. These showed above expectation performance for their letters business – a 3% decline compared to an expected 4-6% drop, but a very worrying 1% drop in parcels volumes compared to the 7% rise last year. Stephen said that performance over the Christmas period would be a critical test of whether Royal Mail’s parcels business could compete effectively in the highly competitive parcels market.
11th July 2014 – Interview on Sky TV
Stephen Gibson was interviewed on Sky News about the Select Committee report on Royal Mail privatisation. Stephen said that while it is clear with hindsight that the shares were significantly undervalued, there were a number of significant risks around the pricing of Royal Mail’s shares in the run up to privatisation. However there were a number of measures that the government could have taken to improve the privatisation process and ensure greater value for money for the taxpayer.
29th May 2014 – Regulators’ Forum
Stephen Gibson hosted a meeting of the Regulators’ Forum at Watermen’s Hall. The guest speaker was Prof Jon Stern, member of the Competition Commission Panel and ORR’s academic panel. Jon spoke on Competition in Regulated Industries: Is its scope Increasing or declining? If you would like to find out more about the Regulators’ Forum please contact Stephen@SLG-Economics.co.uk
22nd May 2014 – Interviews on BBC
Royal Mail announced its preliminary results for the year to March 2014. Stephen Gibson was interviewed on BBC Radio 5Live’s Wake Up To Money programme and on BBC 5Live’s Breakfast programme about the results, as well as Radio 4’s The World at One where he discussed the future of the postal universal service. He also had interviews on BBC Radio Scotland , BBC Radio West Midlands, BBC Radio Wales and BBC Radio Berkshire.
Stephen thought that the results were in line with expectations, but there were significant challenges ahead for Royal Mail from the very competitive parcels market where Royal Mail are failing to grow their market share.
Royal Mail claimed that delivery competition from TNT was putting the USO at risk. Stephen thought that Royal Mail should be much more concerned by the 5% of letters that they are losing each year to digital substitution, than the 0.3% of letters delivered by TNT.
Here is Stephen debating the future of the postal universal service with Martin Stanley on Radio 4’s The World at One:
21st May 2014 – Interview on BBC Radio
Stephen Gibson was interviewed by Shane O’Connor on BBC Radio West Midlands about Royal Mail’s plans to introduce parcel deliveries on Sundays. Stephen welcomed the move and said that Royal Mail needed to become much more customer-focussed if it was to compete successfully with other parcels operators
1st April 2014 – Interview on BBC Radio 5
Stephen Gibson of SLG Economics was interviewed by Victoria Derbeyshire on BBC Radio5 Live about the National Audit Office’s report on the privatisation of Royal Mail. The IPO was 24 times over-subscribed while Royal Mail’s shares are now trading at a 72% premium to their floatation price. The NAO report concluded that the Government could have achieved better value for money for the taxpayer.
Stephen said that the pricing of Royal Mail shares was very cautious. While it might have been difficult for the Government to raise the share price so close to privatisation, when it was clear that the shares were going to be heavily over-subscribed they should have retained 10% more shares in order to benefit from the large subsequent increase in the share price.
News for SLG Economics
25th March 2014 – Interview on BBC Radio
Stephen Gibson of SLG Economics was interviewed by Adam Parsons on BBC Radio 5Live and by Paul Franks on BBC Radio WM about Royal Mail’s proposed job cuts of 1,600 managerial and head office positions. Stephen said that he was not surprised by the proposals and said that “Royal Mail needed to continue to pursue efficiency measures if it is to stay competitive in the letters and parcels markets“.
February 2014 – Regulators’ Forum
Stephen Gibson hosts a meeting of the Regulators’ Forum at Watermen’s Hall, London. The guest speaker was Chris Kenny, Chief Executive of the Legal Services Board who spoke on ‘Competition, Regulation and the Horror of Non-Lawyer Ownership‘.
January 2014 – Centre for Competition and Regulatory Policy Workshop
Stephen Gibson chaired a session of the Centre for Competition and Regulatory Policy Winter 2014 workshop and discussed a paper on Competition and Collusion in the British Independent Schools Sector.
Review of CAA Market Power Determinations
Stephen Gibson provides senior level review of the CAA’s market power determinations for Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted. The CAA publishes its final decision on market power at these airports.
The CAA notice on the proposed licence for Gatwick Airport quotes extensively from SLG Economics Ltd reports in its appendix ‘The Calculation of a Fair Price’.
December 2013 – Interview on BBC News
Stephen Gibson of SLG Economics interviewed by Steph McGovern on BBC News about changes to Royal Mail since privatisation and developments at Canada Post. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25397615
SLG Economics Report published
SLG Economics report reviewing the distribution of economic rent at Heathrow and Gatwick and responding to comments by Compass Lexecon published by the CAA.
Stephen Gibson hosts a meeting of the Regulators’ Forum at Watermen’s Hall. The guest speaker was Sean Browne from BIS Consumer and Competition Directorate, who spoke on: ‘The relationship between Government and the Regulators‘
November 2013 – Interview on BBC TV and Radio
Stephen Gibson from SLG Economics is interviewed on the BBC News and Radio 5 about Royal Mail’s interim results
September 2013 – Report on distribution of economic rent published by CAA
SLG Economics report reviewing the distribution of economic rent between airport, airlines and users at Heathrow and Gatwick published by the CAA. http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/78/Review%20of%20distribution%20of%20economic%20rent%20-%20final%20report.pdf
Interview on BBC Radio 5
Stephen Gibson interviewed on BBC Radio 5’s Wake Up To Money about the prospects for Royal Mail privatisation. Stephen said that Royal Mail needed to transform itself from a letters-based network into one focussing on the growing parcels sector.
SLG Economics’ views quoted by BBC
Stephen Gibson’s views on postal privatistion quoted by the BBC. Stephen warned about the risk of strikes and industrial action to the prospects for Royal Mail “ongoing industrial relations issues would be problematic for a future, privatised Royal Mail, something that could cause investors to pause for thought”