Plans to sell off part of Royal Mail to the private sector may be delayed until 2010, it has emerged.

Business secretary Lord Mandelson said the part-privatisation plans for Royal Mail are “jostling” for space with other government policies.

Speaking to the Financial Times, he explained that he had wanted to forge ahead with the plans before the next general election, but a number of pressing legislative issues, along with the economic downturn, have put Royal Mail’s part-privatisation on hold.

Steve Lawson, Hellmail Postal News’ editor, pointed out that Royal Mail’s pensions deficit is likely to add to the company’s troubles.

“Whilst the controversy may have diminished to some extent by the delay, Royal Mail still faces massive problems unless the pension itself is somehow decoupled from its day-to-day business,” he said.

Royal Mail recently announced that it could close its final salary pension scheme if plans to part-privatise the company do not go ahead.

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