Gill Furniss: These cuts show the Tories are not serious about providing a long-term future for the Post Office
This is the full statement published by Gill Furniss, shadow minister for steel, postal services and consumer protection, after the government announced the closure and franchising of a further 37 crown post offices.
The Post Office is a national brand – everybody trusts it. We must make sure that it will be fit-for-purpose for the 21st century. The government should look at how it can expand Post Office services and make them sustainable rather than just managing a slow decline in services.
This announcement comes before the government has even responded to its consultation on the Post Office that closed on 21 December, ignoring the 75,000 postcards returned by the CWU and signed by members of the public in response to the consultation. This just shows that the government is not serious about providing a long-term sustainable future for the Post Office, and even less so about taking on board the views of the public or Post Office workers.
At a time when the prime minister wants a country that “works for everyone”, the Post Office continues to go ahead with a franchising programme to replace Crown Services with small counters in other shops. This will lead to worse services for customers, worse conditions for workers and compromises on everything from fewer staff to disabled access.
The Post Office is also a lifeline to rural areas. Deprived areas where there is low car ownership and people dependent on benefits will lose out if the government continues to oversee the decline of this essential service. We will continue to press the minister to support the future of the Post Office.