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2002-04-01 19:45:58
Threat to local Post Offices

With the threatened closure of up to 3,000 post offices in town centres and suburbs across the country, a Southport Euro-MP is calling for minimum service standards to take account of both business and social needs.

Chris Davies says that local post offices help to give a focus to communities and should not be discarded for the sake of free market economics.
"We risk throwing the baby out with the bathwater," he warned.

"Business users in cities may benefit from allowing free-for-all competition in postal services but the result will be cuts in door-to-door delivery services in less populated areas and the loss of important community assets."

Consignia has revealed that around 30,000 jobs in its Royal Mail network may also go as it seeks to stem losses of more than 1 million a day. The losses arise principally from controls on the prices of stamps which have not risen in line with costs.

More than 500 post offices have closed within the past year, and the problems for the postal service are likely to grow as government-appointed regulator Postcomm opens up mail services to competition.

Mr Davies says that postal service regulations and the financial support provided should take account of the community benefits which local post offices can provide. He wants them also to be able to provide a range of banking services.

And the Liberal Democrat MEP has hit out at the government policies which are driving the change.

He said: "It will be the elderly and those without the use of a car who will lose most by these cuts.

"I do not think that the weakest people in our society expected the Labour Party to take such a callous and uncaring approach to their needs."

Article submitted by A.Cutting for Chris Davies Euro MP
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