I am pleased to present a petition containing almost 12,000 signatures from petitioners in Penrith and The Border and Carlisle constituencies, who demand that the Government abandon their plans to cut 2,500 post offices, especially those scheduled for closure in Cumbria. More than 8,000 signatures are from Penrith and The Border constituents, and have been collected in almost 100 post offices the length and breadth of the largest constituency in England and Wales. My colleague John Stephenson, the Conservative candidate for Carlisle, has collected 3,500 signatures from sub-post offices in the Carlisle constituency. Collectively, all those signatures indicate the strength of feeling among constituents in the northern half of Cumbria that our network of sub-post offices is vital, and that we do not want to lose any of them.
The petition states:
To the House of Commons,
The Petition of supporters of post offices in Penrith and The Border constituency,
Declares that Sub Post offices are a vital part of the social fabric of the local community and must be preserved. Notes that the present Post Office network in England and Wales cost £150 million per annum to maintain but that in the last year alone the Government has taken away £168 million of Government services which should continue to be done by Post Offices. Believes that mobile Post Offices cannot be a substitute for the village shop/Post Office which is often the hub of social and community life, the centre of informal networking which binds a village together. The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons reject Government plans to cut 2,500 Post Offices and call on them to expand the Sub Post Office network.
And the Petitioners remain, etc.
To lie upon the Table.