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Dundee LibDems challenge Labour on Post Office closures

December 21, 2006 6:46 AM
Michael Charlton, Dundee Liberal Democrats' local party secretary

Charlton challenges Labour on Post Office closures

Dundee Liberal Democrats today (Thursday 21st December) challenged the Labour Party to back Liberal Democrat plans to save Post Offices and invest in them.

The call was sparked by the recent Government announcement on Thursday 14th December of the closure of 2,500 Post Offices. Already Dundee Post Offices have closed and the Liberal Democrats have challenged the Labour Party to commit to saving those remaining.

The Liberal Democrats say their plans for the Post Office and Royal Mail could see branches saved from the axe and new services provided from them.

"The Government has been stripping away services from the Post Office network," said Dundee LibDem local party secretary Michael Charlton. "The inevitable result of Labour's decisions to withdraw government business and with it the revenue it brought, has been the closure of branches.

"Earlier this year the Liberal Democrats agreed a number of radical policies to protect and improve the Post Office network. We would keep Post Office Ltd in the public sector but split it away from the Royal Mail. We would then raise £2 billion from the sale of a minority of shares in Royal Mail and invest this money in the Post Office network.

"This will mean new equipment and new services. We will free the Post Office from Royal Mail controls that prevent branches doing business for other parcel delivery companies. The investment will also enable Post Office branches to be the shop front for local government.

"We will also ensure that staff working for Royal Mail will be given a quarter of the shares in the company, allowing them to share in the success of the company and to be partners in it, similar to the way staff are partners in the John Lewis Partnership.

"It is now clear that the Blair/Brown government are washing their hands of the Post Office network. Their approach has been a combination of neglect and death by a thousand cuts."

Mr Charlton concluded, "We are calling on the Labour Party to back our plans for investment in Post Offices or to explain to their constituents why their Government is so keen to close down so much of the branch network."

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