Action needed to save Greenwich Post Offices

David Gold, Parliamentary Candidate for Eltham, urged action to safeguard Greenwich’s remaining Post Offices and protect vital community facilities. The call comes as 1,000 sub-postmasters marched on Parliament on 18 October protesting at Post Office closures, and as a Government Minister asserted in response that there are “too many offices”.  

 

Eltham has lost 4 branches since 1999 and could face a further 11 closures if cuts on that scale continue.  In Greenwich and Woolwich 4 branches have already been lost and a further 8 could face closure.  In Erith and Thamesmead 3 branches have closed and an additional 8 are at risk.

Under the current Labour Government a quarter of the Post Office network has already closed and more cuts are expected as a result of Labour’s plans to abolish the Post Office Card Account in 2010. Branches across the country also face threats from the cancellation of rural Post Office subsidy in 2008; the direct payment of benefits; DVLA moves to renew car tax online and the opening of new regional Passport Offices. Royal Mail bosses have even suggested that the Post Office network could be reduced to just 4,000 branches.

In response, Conservatives have launched an Action Plan to save local Post Offices:


• Giving Sub-Post Offices greater freedoms to offer a wider range of commercial products.
• Pushing for more Post Offices to be ‘one stop shops’ for central government services.
• Campaigning to save the Post Office Card Account from being axed.
• Encouraging local councils to consider opening ‘council counters’ in local branches.

David Gold explained,  “Post offices are the lifeblood of our community, but their future is now under real threat. Already the Borough has lost four branches, we could lose another eight.   The Government must understand the importance of their social role and Labour must end the damaging uncertainty over the future of the network. 

“I want to give sub-Post Offices greater freedoms to diversify, to provide more central and local government services through branches, and to campaign to save the Post Office Card Account.

“I hope this will put pressure on the Government to develop a clear long-term strategy for the Post Office, to help support our local branches and preserve these vital community institutions.”