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Cllr Helen Dick welcomes Post Office debate

September 20, 2005 5:19 PM
Royal Mail van in front of Post Office.

Dundee Liberal Democrats support local Post Offices

Dundee Liberal Democrat Councillor Helen Dick has welcomed the debate on the Royal Mail and the Post Office Network, which took place today (20th September) at the Liberal Democrats' Federal Conference in Blackpool.

Helen, who campaigned against a local Post Office closure in her Strathmartine Ward during 2003, said :

"The situation facing Royal Mail at present is very serious. Successive Governments have starved Royal Mail and the post office network of investment for over 20 years. This neglect is scandalous. The result is that Royal Mail needs £2 billion for investment just to catch up with its rivals. The group also has a £4.5 billion deficit on its pension fund. All this at a time when postal services are due to be opened up to full competition in less than 2 months. Whatever view we have of this - it is going to happen.

"Meanwhile the post office network has been in decline for years, with over 7,000 branches closing under both Conservative and Labour Governments. No-one has come forward with any credible plan to turn this around, to reinvigorate the network and to secure post offices remain at the heart of our communities."

The Liberal Democrats are determined to find a way forward which achieves the following:

• Gets the necessary investment into Royal Mail to give it the best chance of succeeding in a very competitive market.

• Looks at the possibility of employee share ownership - there must be a strong case for employees benefiting from the future success of the group.

• Provides a guarantee that the universal service obligation is secured. At present it is under threat because of the state of finances of the group.

• Gets investment into the post office network so that it can be modernised. We want post offices to be used far more imaginatively as a shop front for central and local government services, and we want sub post masters and mistresses to feel they have a future, running viable businesses.

• Provides a legal requirement on the Government to maintain the post office network at last recognising its vital social function.

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