Government fail to listen on post offices

May 17, 2007 5:49 PM
Post Office

Mark Hunter with Local Lib Dem Councillors Pam King, Helen Foster-Grime and Paul Porgess campaigning against Post Office Closures

Cheadle MP Mark Hunter quizzed the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry this morning (17th May), on the impact of the Government's plans to close another 2,500 post offices across the country. The Government's plan for more closures comes after they have already closed 4,000 post offices nationally.

The plans would mean 1 in 5 of the remaining post offices will close by 2009, and could mean up to 4 more post offices across the Cheadle parliamentary constituency being forced to shut their doors. The Government will release the list of post offices planned for closure over the next eighteen months as consultation proceeds.

Mr Hunter challenged Alistair Darling MP in the House of Commons asking if the Minister understood the very real concerns communities have about the impact of post office closures. Mr Hunter also asked if the Minister would accept that the post offices closures were largely caused by the Government's own policies which have taken business such as passports, driving licenses and pensions away from the post office.

Speaking after the statement, Mr Hunter said: "It is outrageous, frankly, that the Government have ignored the concerns of local people and are continuing with their plan to close at least another 2,500 post offices. Estimates show that on average each parliamentary constituency could lose another four on top of those that have already gone.

We hear so much in the national news about rural post offices and their importance. But post offices are just as important in urban or suburban communities such as ours. In fact over the past two years more than eight urban post offices have closed for every one in a rural area. The Government needs to realise the significant knock-on effects closing a Post Office has on the local people businesses and the community as a whole. We don't just need to focus on saving rural post offices, but also post offices like those in our area which are the heart of our suburban communities.

I have been campaigning against the Government's post office closure plans and after today's announcement will be stepping up the fight once again."

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