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 Gavin Strang Gavin Strang Labour, Edinburgh East and Musselburgh 3:30 pm, 28th June 2000

I congratulate my right hon. Friend on rising to the challenge of creating a financial environment in which we can have a thriving and prosperous network of post offices. Is he aware that my constituents will particularly welcome the fact that he recognises that post offices in some of the less affluent urban areas are even more vulnerable than those in rural areas on the move to automated credit transfer? Those same constituents will attach huge importance to the potential of the universal bank which he has announced today. While recognising that the small print and the details of the agreement with the commercial banks will be produced later, is my right hon. Friend satisfied that he will reach an agreement with the private banks that will enable the universal bank to achieve its full potential to sustain the network? For example, will an individual who already has an account with a private bank be able to open an account with the universal bank?