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Post Office Closures

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:57 pm on 15th May 2002.

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Photo of Nigel Griffiths Nigel Griffiths Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Trade and Industry 6:57 pm, 15th May 2002

The management team has been strengthened through the appointment of Marisa Cassoni, the new financial director; David Mills, the chief executive of the network, who had a distinguished record with HSBC; and Allan Leighton, whose success in turning round and growing Asda is legendary. I hope that that reassures my hon. Friend and other hon. Members.

My hon. Friend also mentioned closures, about which every right hon. and hon. Member feels strongly. I am pleased that the rate of closure in Wales has more than halved, and that, in addition to the opening of the two branches to which reference was made, a further 169 opened in the previous financial year. As part of the Government's £2 million scheme, £7,000 has been given to Mrs. Jones to ensure the construction of a post office building and counter in Adfa, in Powys. Similar examples can be cited throughout the length and breadth of the country.

I remind Mr. Walter, who also mentioned closures, that in 18 years of Conservative government the rate of closure was 16 a month. In his south-west region, 33 branches closed last year—equivalent to the number that closed every two months when his party were in government.

My hon. Friend the Minister for E-Commerce and Competitiveness dealt well with the other contributions that were made, and I urge the House to reject the motion.