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Post Office Closures

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

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Photo of Mr David Chidgey Mr David Chidgey Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Spokesperson (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) 3:38 pm, 15th May 2002

I note the Minister's comments on the decline in business. However, he will recall that that decline, especially in rural areas, spreads beyond the post office, particularly to banks. He may also recall that, a year or so ago, a strong attempt was made—and partly carried out—to get banks that were closing local branches to transfer over-the-counter services to local post offices. That was a great idea that we all applauded and encouraged. Does the Minister realise, however, that the charges made to local post offices for installing, supporting and filling automated teller machines are prohibitive, so that the arrangement costs them money and is falling apart? I asked questions on that in the House and received bland replies about the information being commercially confidential, but post offices are the business of us all, and not just a commercial interest of the Post Office.