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Post Offices saved by Liberal Democrats – William Powell AM

January 25, 2012 3:06 PM
Originally published by William Powell AM

Post Offices in Wales have been saved by Liberal Democrat Business Minister, Ed Davey.

After ending Labour's shameful Post Office closure programme, which saw more than 7100 Post Offices disappear in their 13 years in office, Ed Davey has announce a ten-year deal between the Post Office and the Royal Mail has been reached.

The deal gives additional certainty to subpostmasters across the UK and covers the full range of Royal Mail products available at post offices such as first and second class post, parcels, air mail, recorded and special deliveries.

The deal adds to other recent progress for the Post Office, with extra Government cash kicking in, new national and local government contracts won, successful piloting of new models to transform many local post offices and improvements in financial services offered.

Commenting, William Powell, said:

"After years of Post Office closures under the Labour Government, it is excellent news that Liberal Democrats are doing the right thing by ensuring that the Post Office has a sustainable future ahead of it through investment and by brokering this deal with Royal Mail.

"Post Offices are a vital part of our communities and are the lynchpin of our towns and villages. More than 20m people visit a Post Office every week to send letters to loved ones, to manage their finances or to renew passports for holidays and hundreds of thousands of pensioners rely on them every day for their pensions.

"Labour left Royal Mail in a terrible mess and it is Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government who have stopped closures and put Royal Mail and the Post Office on a secure footing. Our plans mean that we will never see the kind of planned closures that devastated local communities under the previous Government.

"The 20m people who use the Post Office every week don't deserve anything less from us."

Commenting further, Ed Davey said:

"A year ago I set out a radical plan to transform Post Office's future, with £1.34bn of Government support and investment but without any closure programmes.

"Since then the Post Office has made good progress to become more competitive, building on its strengths.

"While it will take several years to turn round the Post Office's finances, it's increasingly clear the reforms are beginning to work.

"The 10-year deal struck between Royal Mail and the Post Office will give subpostmasters and others greater confidence.

"The signs are extremely encouraging for the future of the Post Office."

Notes to Editors:

  • In November 2010, the Coalition Government published its plans to secure the future of the Post Office. Post offices play a key role in their communities and that is why the Government has committed to maintain a network of at least 11,500 branches, building a long-term future for those branches.

  • Under the Labour Government, Post Office numbers fell by more than 7100, or 38%. In March 2010, there were 11,905 post offices in the UK.

  • Post Office Ltd remains in 100% public ownership. A new Board has been appointed to oversee the Post Office as an independent business with certainty about its future.

  • Post Office Ltd has been developing innovative Government services. The most recent example of success is its appointment as the UK Border Agency's delivery partner for Biometric Residency Permits. Other examples include providing identity checks for London taxi drivers and a range of 'front office' transactions for Westminster Council.

  • Significant progress has also been made in developing the Post Office's financial services business. In September access to RBS accounts over Post Office counters was extended and in November new products like the Junior ISA were introduced.

  • Moya Greene, Royal Mail Group's Chief Executive, today warmly welcomed the new, commercial agreement between the Royal Mail Group and Post Office Ltd:

    "I am delighted with this agreement. It provides a firm foundation for the Post Office's long-term, sustainable future and ensures Royal Mail's customers continue to get access to postal services in Post Office branches nationwide, the UK's biggest retail network.

    "Royal Mail and the Post Office have reached an agreement that is in the best interests of our customers and both businesses. The Post Office will continue to benefit from the sale of stamps and other delivery services. For Royal Mail, the business retains the current, unrivalled, UK-wide, retail distribution network for its products and services aimed at consumers and small businesses. We look forward to a new chapter in our continuing, close relationship."

  • Paula Vennells, Managing Director of Post office Ltd, said:

    "This is a good agreement for the Post Office, for the millions of customers a day who visit our branches and for our subpostmasters. We are the number one mails' retailer in the UK and postal business accounts for a third of our income. A long term relationship with Royal Mail ensures we continue to provide the unrivalled access and great customer service in mails and parcels services, which individuals and business customers want from the Post Office.

    "This vital agreement, along with our ambitious plans for growth in government services, our branch investment and modernisation programme, and our development of digital services will all help to build a long term and sustainable Post Office."