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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 Douglas Alexander Douglas Alexander Minister of State (e-Commerce & Competitiveness) 3:38 pm, 15th May 2002

The £270 million that was allocated in the previous comprehensive spending review was to implement the recommendations of the PIU report. They included a range of working programmes. One was urban reinvention, and another was the pilot that I mentioned. It is worth £25 million in terms of "your guide". Further work to support the rural network will be done, and we are determined to ensure that, if additional support is necessary, there will be a process whereby it can be considered as and when it is required.

There is no dispute about the fact that, in every part of the operation, the Post Office needs to adapt to new challenges. The public want it to provide world-class postal services and a thriving post office network fit for the 21st century. The Government want a universal service on which everyone can rely, with faster, more reliable mail deliveries, a strong network of modern post offices, and an effective partnership between management and the unions. We want a better Post Office for people to work in.

Standing still, as some suggest, is not an option. The business must move forward, tackle its shortcomings, and tailor its services to changing customer demands. The Government are implementing the terms of the PIU report and underpinning that by committing resources and strengthening management.

We cannot turn the clock back, but, with the right management, proper investment, the right support and the backing of customers and communities, we can realise the full potential of the Post Office in future. I urge the House to support the amendment.