Post Office Network
currently a review (the Network Change
Programme or NCP) into the network and some further planned closures have
been announced, for details please see the Birmingham, Coventry and Warwickshire area plan
on the Post Office website: click
There is one planned closure actually in my constituency, of The
Green Post Office and just over the border in Richard Burden's Northfield constituency,
there is another planned closure, of Middlemore Road Post Office. There is a public consultation period on the proposed closures in
Birmingham that lasts for 6 weeks closing on 04 August 2008.
Comments can be given by writing to Post Office Ltd:
Mark Partington, Network Development Manager
C/O National Consultation Team Post Office Ltd FREEPOST CONSULTATION TEAM (no stamp
by telephone: 08457 22 33 44
or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
As for my own views, I have been working with Richard Burden and others on this issue
and have collaborated on the following submissions to the consultation, which call on Post
Office Ltd to reconsider their proposals to close these two Post Offices:
Green Consultation Submission
Road Consultation Submission
By way of background, the
National Federation of SubPostmasters
(NFSP), who represent the interests of
postmasters and postmistresses are supporting the overall review. The NFSP want the NCP to go ahead, as at least this
will be managed change, rather than leaving us with ad
hoc closures, as happened when the Tories were in Government. In
the NFSPs view, the alternative to the NCP is mass unplanned Post Office closures. Under the NCP there will be minimum access standards
and the Government is putting in additional money to ensure agreed standards of service.
As well as my joint
submission to the Post Office consultation, I have also made a submission to the
Independent Review of the Postal Services Sector that was set up by the Government to examine the impacts of
liberalisation of the UK postal services. A copy of my letter is printed below.
One issue is how the
Government and Post Office Ltd plan to use the Post Office Network to deliver key services
and new products, which will be vital if the Network is to become sustainable. I
strongly criticised the BBC over their decision to take the issuing of TV licences away
from post offices. Contrary to poular
perception, this was not a Government decision. Therefore
I am asking the people running our local post offices what ideas they have for additional
Government business they could take on.
For its part, since 1999, the Government has invested over £2bn
in the Post Office network, including £480m for the Horizon Project to bring modern
computer systems into every post office in the country for the first time - enabling Post
Office Ltd to launch a range of new products and to open its counters to potentially over
20 million bank customers. Most of the rest
has been for the support of post offices in rural and deprived urban areas. There will be a further investment of £1.7bn up to
2011. Though the Tories criticise post office
closures, they havent said they would put any additional money into the network, nor
how they would finance what is planned if their own policy of cutting public expenditure
were to take place.
I hope that constituents
that have the opportunity will respond to the public consultation and I would also
encourage constituents to make good use of our post offices.
I would particularly recommend the use of the Post Office Card account for benefit
Letter for the Independent Review of the Postal Services Sector
24 April 2008
I am writing to register my support for the points made by Royal
Mail and the key proposals outlined by the CWU in their submissions to the Independent
Review of the Postal Services Sector.
I am concerned that Royal Mails overall financial
situation is increasingly fragile and that falling profits and declining mail volumes,
coupled with the fact that it has one of the UKs biggest unfunded pension deficits,
is making it difficult to survive in an increasingly competitive market place.
It is my understanding that Royal Mail is facing a number of
challenges that are the result of over regulation, including regulation to such a degree
that it is forced to provide unprofitable services. For example, the creation by Postcomm
of the access headroom rule has contributed to the rapid decline in Royal
Mails market share. The decision to give rivals guaranteed margins, means that Royal
Mail can never be competitive no matter how efficient it becomes.
The access agreements have allowed rival companies
to cherry pick the most profitable contracts and, once they have accessed the market, they
give the items back to Royal Mail to deliver, which in real terms means the Royal Mail
loses up to 2p on each item it handles in this way. Royal Mail needs to be able to
charge its rivals a fair price for this final mile service.
Postcomm decided to liberalise the postal services at a faster
pace than was required by the EU and the results have had a damaging impact on Royal Mail.
I am very concerned that in the future, the company will struggle to maintain its
universal postal service obligation, which is an important and essential public service.
Furthermore, I am also opposed to any further extension of post
office closures, which will withdraw services, which elderly and vulnerable members of
society need most. The National Federation of SubPostmasters warned recently that
thousands more post offices face closure if the government awards the Post Office card
account contract currently held by Royal Mail to the private sector. This further loss of
key post office functions would be a terrible blow after the decision of the BBC to
withdraw TV licence payment arrangements from post offices, a decision I strongly
criticised at the time.
I should be grateful for confirmation that this letter will be
LYNNE JONES MP
Click here to see letters I have written
to Ministers at the DWP and BERR about Post Offices and the Post Office Card Account
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