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Local post offices disappearing at an alarming rate

February 4, 2005 3:33 PM

In the last 5 years, new research by the Liberal Democrats reveals the shocking number of post offices closed; nearly 2,200 or 12% of all UK Post Offices.

David Goodall outside Merryoak Post Office

The doomed Merry Oak Post Office

This shocking number does not include the recently announced Southampton Itchen closures. The hard hit Peartree ward has taken the brunt of this closure round with closures at Merry Oak, Spring Road, and Station Road, other Itchen afflicted Post Offices include Bitterne Park triangle, Wide Lane and Manor Farm Road

This is part of the Government's "Post Office Urban Network Reinvention Programme" for those not speaking new Labour English this means "Post Office closure programme".

Liberal Democrats believe good sub-Post Offices play a vital role in the community especially for the more vulnerable groups in society. - the over 65s, disabled people, carers, single parents, unemployed people and those without a car who find it difficult to use public transport.

Our policy is support post offices by increasing and extending the services provided not to close them, just a couple of examples of services changes that could be made are :-.

  • independent financial advice services
  • some health services such as pharmacies or the community nurse
  • longer opening hours to match corner shop many are located in
  • all post offices to issue car tax discs
  • housing advice centres services
  • even coffee shops or a bakery, as some post offices already have

A good post office can really support local communities and customers, sub-postmasters should be encouraged to widen their services as best suits their area.

David Goodall outside Bitterne Park triangle Post Office

Bitterne Park triangle - another one bites the dust

Commenting on the figures Southampton Itchen's parliamentary spokesman David Goodall said:

"This government is showing a complete lack of imagination and drive when it comes to saving post offices"

"If a post office is having problems the only answer appears to be - close it"

And Malcolm Bruce MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow DTI Secretary, said:

"This is not the way to secure the future of the network. Post offices need to be able to offer new services and products that will attract people back into their local branch and replace the income Government policies have drained away.

"The message to the Government is: use post offices or lose the network."

And finally just note - the Labour governments performance is even worst then the last Conservative government since 1997 under Labour 3595 Post Offices have closed whereas under the Conservatives 3334 closed between 1981 and 1997.

Clearly this is another area where the two other parties have the same policy - close post offices !!