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Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Old Labour versus New on Post Offices

The Western Mail labelled it as "Old Labour slates New over closure of urban post offices" but the air of hypocrisy on this issue was acrid. The MP for Blaenau Gwent, Llew Smith and his colleague, Peter Law AM, led a delegation to Cardiff to meet the Secretary of State for Wales to seek his support in the fight to stop seven Post Offices in their constituency from closing. There was a lot of talk of fat cat Post Office Executives and lack of consultation but very little about the real reasons why these Post Offices are going - Labour Government policy. The payment of pensions and benefits directly into bank accounts has effectively wiped out 40% of the income of most Post Offices. Is it no wonder that many postmasters are taking voluntary retirement rather than struggle against these odds? The closures in Llanelli and Blaenau Gwent are just the tip of the iceberg. More will be announced in the next few months in other areas of Wales. Meanwhile the Secretary of State, a member of the Government that has nearly bankrupted the Post Office, told the dynamic duo of Llew and Peter that those campaigning to save the post offices had an "unanswerable" case. Well that is OK then. Perhaps he will go back to Westminster and tell Tony to reverse Government policy now. I think not.

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