Sub-post Offices

Part of Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 4:59 pm on 12th April 2000.

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Photo of Robert Wareing Robert Wareing Labour, Liverpool, West Derby 4:59 pm, 12th April 2000

The hon. Gentleman may have a point. However, the Postal Services Bill has not been enacted yet, and the problems that the hon. Gentleman and perhaps other hon. Members face in their constituencies already exist. They do not result from changes in the way in which benefits are paid.

I am worried about the sick, the disabled and the elderly in my constituency. A post office has already closed there, although that was the result of vandalism, not the problems that will beset post offices under the current proposal.

Of course my constituents can go to a post office and draw cash under the proposals, provided that the post office exists. A move from a cash system of payment at the post office, which many of my constituents desire, means that those post offices will close down. Not only post offices, but nearby shopping areas suffer. The post offices will suffer not only through the change in the payment of benefit; their sales of newspapers and cigarettes will also suffer, and a whole range of shops in the area could be affected. Economic activity will decline and more jobs will be lost. The Government should tackle that problem.

The Post Office currently has a monopoly on services up to £1. The reduction to 50p is bound to have an effect and to endanger not only sub-post offices, but other businesses in the area.