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New Royal Mail stamp issue chronicles the history of Buckingham Palace

buck_634x323Royal Mail today launches a ten-stamp issue that celebrates the history of Buckingham Palace, the official London residence of The Queen.
Six stamps explore the different appearance of this iconic building over the centuries while a four-stamp miniature sheet celebrates the opulence of its interior.

Royal Mail commissioned the artwork used for the 2014 stamp. The watercolour of the present day exterior of the Palace was painted by the artist Chris Draper.

The stamps are available from Opens in new window, by phone on 08457 641 641 and in 10,000 Post Offices throughout the UK

ASBPlargeBuckingham Palace is one of the few remaining working royal palaces in the world today and provides the setting for ceremonies and formal entertaining, as well as the Prime Minister’s weekly audience with The Queen.

Andrew Hammond, Royal Mail spokesperson, said; “This stamp issue illustrates the development of Buckingham Palace from the private house built by the Duke of Buckingham 300 years ago to one of the most iconic buildings in the world.

“Buckingham Palace is one of the most recognised landmarks in the UK and is a source of pride to the nation; it forms a huge part of our heritage, so it’s fitting Royal Mail has been able to dedicate a stamp issue to this most famous of addresses.”

MZBPlargeThe history of Buckingham Palace can be traced back to the early 17th century, when a mulberry garden was established on the site to breed silk worms. A house built near the garden for Lord Goring in 1633 was replaced, after a fire, on a larger scale by the next occupant, Henry Bennet, Secretary of State to King Charles II and later first Earl of Arlington. In 1698, Arlington House was acquired by John Sheffield, who was created Duke of Buckingham in 1703.

It was the Duke of Buckingham who transformed the site by demolishing the existing building and erecting an ambitious brick house with a three-storeyed central block and flanking pavilions.

This basic plan of Buckingham House formed the core of the future palace and dictated all subsequent development. Facing the Mall – the grand tree-lined avenue running along the north side of St James’s Park – and with a large formal garden at the back, it was an impressive residence benefitting from an excellent location and magnificent views.

In 1761, King George III bought the house as a private residence following his marriage to Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburgh-Strelitz. However, it did not make for a comfortable home. By this time, many features of Buckingham House were out of fashion. To adapt the house to his tastes and needs, King George III put architect Sir William Chambers in charge. After Queen Charlotte settled in the upstairs rooms in 1775, the residence was known as the Queen’s House and became the centre of royal life.

The main developments by John Nash in the early 19th century to transformed it into a Royal Palace, and Queen Victoria’s expansion of the building created a new front facing the Mall.

The 20th century saw King Edward VII set about redecorating much of the interior in its distinctive white and gold décor.

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Burnley: Easter postal strike threatened

Talks to avert a possible Easter strike are ongoing between Burnley postal workers and Royal Mail.

The Burnley Express understands that workers at the Burnley sorting office in Bank Parade are threatening to withdraw their labour this Thursday, Saturday and the following Tuesday.

It is believed that workers are angry over the dismissal of two long-serving colleagues, one of whom is former Burnley Borough Council leader Stuart Caddy.

Read more: Easter postal strike threatened – Burnley Express.

Investors fear further Royal Mail sale as lock-up expires

The lock-up that blocks the Government from offloading more shares in Royal Mail expires on Sunday, raising investor fears the postal service could be hit by a stake sale.

The Government pledged to retain its near-30pc stake in Royal Mail for 180 days after the start of unconditional trading of shares in the group. But the so-called lock-up agreement has now lapsed, giving the state free rein to sell down its holding in the postal company, which could hurt the price of Royal Mail shares.

Nervousness about the lock-up has already weighed on the stock, with shares in the mail company down 12.1pc since the beginning of April.

Read more: Investors fear further Royal Mail sale as lock-up expires – Telegraph.

Hazzard says workers will pay for ‘Royal Mail firesale’ | Latest Newry News, Newry Sport and Newry Business for Newry City

Sinn Féin MLA Chris Hazzard has said that not only was Royal Mail sold off too cheaply but also that workers are now being made redundant to make even bigger profits for shareholders.

Speaking to Newry Times, Hazzard said, “The Royal Mail was set up in order to provide a first-class and secure postal service to everyone yet today it is under threat of being cannibalised to make big profits for a few.

“The decision to sell off the service at a cheap share price was nothing more than an opportunity for speculators and high financiers to make a quick killing.

Hazzard says workers will pay for ‘Royal Mail firesale’ | Latest Newry News, Newry Sport and Newry Business for Newry City.

Vince Cable recalled by MPs over Royal Mail privatisation controversy

Vince Cable has been recalled by MPs to give further evidence on the privatisation of Royal Mail following a damning National Audit Office report that found the government had cost taxpayers £750m in a single day by massively undervaluing the postal service.

The business secretary will be called before the business select committee on 29 April to answer claims that he botched the sale and allowed City traders to make huge instant profits at the expense of taxpayers.

Adrian Bailey, a Labour MP and chair of the committee, has already called for Cable to resign in the wake of the NAO’s scathing report on the sale.

Read more: Vince Cable recalled by MPs over Royal Mail privatisation controversy | UK news |

Business Secretary Vince Cable refuses Labour’s demands to reveal details of ‘cosy’ Royal Mail sell-off deal

Business Secretary Vince Cable has refused demands by the Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna to release the names of the 16 City investors who reneged on a deal to remain long-term shareholders in the Royal Mail.

Mr Umunna made his demands in a letter to Mr Cable citing The Independent’s reports of a “gentleman’s agreement” made with a select group of 16 City investment companies that they would be long-term shareholders in Royal Mail in return for being granted priority status and extra allocations of shares. In the event, within weeks of the float these investors had sold more than half of their stock at a profit estimated at more than £300m.

Read more: Business Secretary Vince Cable refuses Labour's demands to reveal details of 'cosy' Royal Mail sell-off deal – UK Politics – UK – The Independent.

Harlow postman binned mail because he didn’t like job and wanted to finish work early

A POSTMAN who threw away hundreds of letters at a recycling depot in Harlow because he did not like his job and wanted to finish work early has avoided a jail sentence.

Chelmsford Magistrates Court was told James Misselbrook, 22, of Albert Gardens, Harlow, also threw away mail in his own dustbin at home and kept others in his garden shed and car ready for disposal.

Read more: Harlow postman binned mail because he didn't like job and wanted to finish work early | Harlow News Headlines | Breaking Harlow News Stories | Harlow Star.

Vince Cable defends Royal Mail sell-off in Commons debate

The business secretary, Vince Cable, has refused to apologise over the government’s privatisation of Royal Mail, despite a scathing report from the National Audit Office, which said undervaluing the share sale had cost the taxpayer £750m in a single day.

In a lively debate in the House of Commons, Cable defended the controversial float last October, after coming under fire from the shadow business secretary, Chuka Umunna, and other MPs. "The last thing I intend to do is apologise," Cable said. He insisted that the privatisation had been a success and that there had been a real risk that the flotation could have failed if the shares had been priced higher.

"We’ve taken a loss-making public enterprise and turned it into a successful public company," he added. He accused Labour itself of selling state assets off on the cheap.

Read more: Vince Cable defends Royal Mail sell-off in Commons debate | UK news |

Undervaluing Royal Mail shares costs taxpayer £750m in one day

The government’s desperation to sell Royal Mail cost taxpayers £750m in a single day, the National Audit Office has said in a scathing report into the privatisation of the 500-year-old national institution.

The public spending watchdog says the business secretary Vince Cable ploughed ahead with plans to float Royal Mail at a maximum price of 330p-a-share despite repeated warnings from City experts that the government had vastly undervalued the company.

The audit office said in a report today that Cable chose not to heed the warnings and increase the flotation price from the 260-330p range because of fears it could put off institutional investors and jeopardise the flotation as postal workers were preparing for nationwide strike action.

Read more: Undervaluing Royal Mail shares costs taxpayer £750m in one day | UK news | The Guardian.

Royal Mail facing backlash over ‘lost £1bn’ from sell-off

Ministers, investment bankers and senior civil servants are bracing themselves for recriminations this week when the Government’s auditors give their verdict on the flotation of Royal Mail, which appears to have lost taxpayers in excess of £1 billion.

In what is likely to be a trying week for the privatised postal network, Royal Mail has pushed through stamp price and parcel charge rises today that its competitors say will show that the former monopoly is trying to profit from its market dominance.

Read more: Royal Mail facing backlash over ‘lost £1bn’ from sell-off | The Times.