Post Office Network

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:30 pm on 28th June 2000.

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Photo of Stephen Byers Stephen Byers Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry 3:30 pm, 28th June 2000

The hon. Gentleman is right to point out the importance of working closely with the National Federation of Sub-Postmasters, which is what we have been doing. That is why I hope that it will feel able to welcome the announcement this afternoon.

The hon. Gentleman asked about the costs of installing the new facilities. It will cost over £500 million to provide the modern online computer facilities that will be in every post office by the spring of next year. As he will know from last week's Post Office accounts, some of that money will come from the Post Office and some from the Government. In terms of the additional facilities over and above the online computer facilities, as I made clear in the statement and in reply to hon. Members, I am asking the Post Office to present me with a business plan for the universal bank by 1 September, and for the other proposals by the end of this calendar year, so that we can see exactly how much will be required to deliver those new opportunities to the post office network.