We need your support to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can continue to hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Post Office Closures

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:38 pm on 15th May 2002.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Vincent Cable Vincent Cable Shadow Spokesperson (Trade and Industry), Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Trade and Industry) 3:38 pm, 15th May 2002

That is what unavoidable closures means—the process of closures is continuing, will continue, and once the emptiness of the follow-up to the performance and innovation unit report has been demonstrated, the process of closures will accelerate on a very large scale, and it will happen in rural areas. I hope that the Minister will clarify one aspect of the Labour manifesto statement that I do not understand. It says that £270 million was set aside in the comprehensive spending round for rural post office development. My understanding—which I hope will be corrected—is that £180 million of that has now been siphoned off to compensate postmasters in urban areas. Is that right? Is that money, as was pledged in the Labour party election manifesto, going to sustain the rural network? That is a very important question, as in many cases the rural network is teetering on the brink of collapse. If there is money to sustain it, there is hope, but if there is Enron-type accounting, and the money is being shifted somewhere else, large numbers will collapse. I hope that, at the very least, clarification of that basic point will be given today.