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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Carnage (updated)

The announcement today that a further 52 Post Offices are to close in North Wales brings the total to be shut down across the Wales to 155. It will mean the loss of 282 Post Offices here since 2003. A fine record for a Labour Government supposedly committed to communities and to social justice.

The photograph shows a map of all Post Office closures in Wales since 2003 including those in North Wales announced today. Each red dot represents a closed branch. You will note that even with the 52 we were informed of today the vast majority are in urban South Wales.

I live just north of Caerphilly, and if my local post-office closed I would have to walk/drive/get a bus 2 miles just to buy a stamp (which would take the cost of a stamp up from about 47p to about £2.) I can't see 70 year olds going that far, even with a free bus pass.

I can kind-of understand the economic arguement for closing post-offices if they are on a loss, but to close them without putting replacement facilities in place is madness. For example, if a village has a shop and post-office, and you want to close the post office, then why not liaise with the shop to have a small licensed p.o. counter or something. The shop would benefit from it, and so would the community. Mobile post-offices? Fine for countryside, not for (sub)urban areas.
The Post Office has been screwed ever since Blair's lot made it a PLC in 1999. It's all a bit hazy, because I was very young at the time, but didn't John Major once try and privatise the Post Office and get it howled out of parliament because it was a ridiculous proposition that would OBVIOUSLY lead to mass closures?
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