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Post Office Network

Part of Business of the House – in the House of Commons at 12:24 pm on 14th December 2006.

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Photo of Alistair Darling Alistair Darling Secretary of State for Trade and Industry 12:24 pm, 14th December 2006

No. If the proposals go ahead, the closures would take place in an 18-month period from the summer of next year. The consultation document—I appreciate that the right hon. Gentleman has not yet had a chance to read it—says that the possible transfer or share of responsibility with local authorities would not happen before 2011. On his general point, I can understand the concern of anyone who uses a post office when there is a proposal to close it. Although I am not surprised by this, the Conservative party has to face up to the fact that saying that it will maintain the present network when it knows that it cannot fund it because of other commitments it has made on tax and spending is not being straightforward with the public.