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Labour failure to stop Post Office closures slammed by Dundee Liberal Democrats

March 21, 2008 11:16 AM
Royal Mail

Post Office closures slammed by Dundee LibDems

Dundee LibDems today (Friday 21st March) slammed Labour MPs for failing to support local Post Office services after they voted to support the Government's massive post office closure programme earlier this week.

The Government has ordered that one in five branches be closed. Opposition MPs tried to stop the closure programme on 19th March when a motion was proposed in the House of Commons demanding the Government halt their plans to make 2500 branches shut up shop.

But enough Labour MPs rallied around the Government's closure plans to reject the motion and ensure the closure programme can continue unhindered. One of those voting to close post offices was Dundee West's Labour MP Jim McGovern.

LibDem councillor Fraser Macpherson said, "In the coming months, we will be advised what Royal Mail intends doing with local Post Offices in Dundee and the surrounding area.

"The loss of post offices would hit local communities hard. They are vital assets for many local people and closing them will cause many difficulties for older people and others with mobility problems, in particular."

The Liberal Democrats are opposed to the current closure plan. The party has alternative proposals which include:

• Demerge Post Office Ltd from Royal Mail, giving the Post Office freedom to develop services for all mail delivery companies.

• Sell off a 49% stake in Royal Mail to the private sector, make a further 50% available to provide an employee trust for the workforce on the John Lewis model. This will give Royal Mail the freedom of a private sector business to borrow and invest, allowing it to compete with lean and effective private sector businesses in the main UK mail and parcels market.

• Use the proceeds of the asset sale (49% of Royal Mail, which we estimate could release £2bn) to fund the product/service investment desperately needed to make post offices profitable: to transform the retail environment in the Crown offices (currently losing £70m per Ensure that the Post Office network is the cornerstone of the programme to provide every UK citizen with access to a basic bank account. Post offices can play a key part in financial inclusion - they want and need the additional trade that offering basic bank accounts would provide.

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