Royal Mail £3.6bn takeover by Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky raises fears of second-class post as small businesses call for 'thorough' scrutiny of deal

Postal company set to fall into ­foreign hands for first time since it began in 1516Small businesses are calling on ministers and regulators to enforce protections They are concerned Mr Kretinsky will press ahead with plans to reduce service 

Small businesses have called for 'thorough' scrutiny of the £3.6 billion Royal Mail takeover amid fears services could be watered down.

Royal Mail owner International Distribution Services has accepted a takeover swoop from Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, meaning the postal company is set to fall into ­foreign hands for the first time since it was set up by ­Henry VIII in 1516.

But business groups representing thousands of small companies are calling on ministers and regulators to enforce protections.

Industry voices – including the Greeting Card Association (GCA), British Independent Retailers Association and the Federation of Small Businesses – have all sounded the alarm.

They are worried that Mr Kretinsky will press ahead with its current owner's hopes to slash the frequency of second-class deliveries and hike the price of first-class stamps.

Royal Mail owner International Distribution Services has accepted a takeover swoop from Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, meaning the postal company is set to fall into ­foreign hands for the first time since it was set up by ­Henry VIII in 1516

Royal Mail owner International Distribution Services has accepted a takeover swoop from Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, meaning the postal company is set to fall into ­foreign hands for the first time since it was set up by ­Henry VIII in 1516

Business groups representing thousands of small companies are calling on ministers and regulators to enforce protections amid fears the service will be reduced

Business groups representing thousands of small companies are calling on ministers and regulators to enforce protections amid fears the service will be reduced

Andrew Goodacre, chief executive of the British Independent Retailers Association, said a reduced service would 'make business even harder' for small firms.

He added: 'If Royal Mail is to be sold, we need to know that the due diligence is thorough and that there is a genuine commitment to maintaining, if not improving, the current levels of service and delivery.'

GCA chief executive Amanda Fergusson said the group's members were worried that suggestions proposed by Mr Kretinsky were 'inadequate and short-lived'.

Industry voices ¿ including the Greeting Card Association (GCA), British Independent Retailers Association and the Federation of Small Businesses ¿ have all raised their concerns

Industry voices – including the Greeting Card Association (GCA), British Independent Retailers Association and the Federation of Small Businesses – have all raised their concerns

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