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Post Office Closures

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:40 pm on 15th May 2002.

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Photo of Nigel Waterson Nigel Waterson Conservative, Eastbourne 4:40 pm, 15th May 2002

I do not think that the hon. Gentleman has been following my speech closely enough. He seems to be confusing two things. Overwhelmingly, the network of sub-post offices has nothing to do with Consignia; most of them are owned by private individuals who have opened them up using their own savings, perhaps from redundancy payments or whatever, collected over some years. Those are the people we are talking about.

The hon. Gentleman made a rather more important point on the universal service obligation, but he must remember that, at the moment, the Post Office is not meeting that obligation in some parts of the country. It is certainly not meeting its obligation on next-day delivery of first-class mail. Under the Postcomm proposals, any new private company entering the post office market would, I am sure, be equally obliged to fulfil the universal service obligation.