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Post Office closure consultation a costly sham - Brake and Burstow

December 2, 2007 11:12 PM

Sutton and Cheam MP, Paul Burstow, slammed the Government on Tuesday for presiding over the decline of the post office network. The Sutton and Cheam MP was speaking in a parliamentary debate on Post Office closures. Carshalton and Wallington MP, Tom Brake, who also spoke in the debate describing post offices as the 'lifeblood' of the local community.

Mr Burstow called the debate to highlight the impact of further closures. In 2004 the network was reduced as part of the Government's Network Reinvention Programme. Then sub-postmasters where offered a cash incentive to opt for closure. The Network Change Programme, which will see closure proposals published in February, has to close 2,500 post offices nationwide.

During the debate the MPs argued the case for investment to secure the future of the post office network. Paul Burstow MP pressed the Minister for the consultation period to be increased from 6 weeks to 12 weeks in line with the Government's own guidelines.

Paul Burstow MP said, "Three years ago we were promised that closing post offices in Cheam and Belmont would keep the rest of the network safe. Now those bad decisions will be made worse with yet another round of closures.

"It is outrageous that the Government and the Post Office refuse to give more time for their customers and local residents to have a say. Without more time and flexibility the whole exercise is little more than a sham.

Tom Brake said, "Post Offices are the lifeblood of our community, providing services to a range of customers from business people to the most vulnerable in society.

"The Government cannot wash their hands of Post Office. They must will the means to safeguard their future."

Notes to editors:

Watch the debate at: http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Main/VideoPlayer.aspx?meetingId=440

Read the debate in full at:

http://pubs1.tso.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmhansrd/cm071127/halltext/71127h0007.htm#07112751000005

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