Sub-post Offices

Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 4:09 pm on 12th April 2000.

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Photo of Stephen Byers Stephen Byers Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry 4:09 pm, 12th April 2000

I have two points to make. First, the hon. Gentleman's constituent will need to convince those who presently receive their benefits in cash to continue to do so. I am sure that she has a good relationship with them, so she need only tell them that they have a choice. People who want to continue with the status quo and have their benefits paid in cash are entitled to do so. They will continue to have that choice until 2003, between 2003 and 2005, and beyond 2005. That is what I would advise her to do to ensure that her customers stay loyal and keep receiving their payments in cash.

Secondly, the hon. Gentleman's constituent needs to know that her post office will be automated as a result of a £500 million Government investment. She will be able to offer new services, which will result in new people coming in to her post office. That will give her new vision for the future. I hope that she will recognise that this way will provide her with opportunities that she does not have at the moment.