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The key to helping the post office network survive is making sure that new business is found for it. We talk about the subsidy for the Post Office. Let us have fewer consultants across Government Departments. We could save a fortune.
It is wrong that viable post offices are being closed. That is clearly what is happening in some cases. That information is not being made available to Members of Parliament. As I said, I have asked the Post Office for the information but it has still not given it to me. That is wrong.
Another office in my constituency, Nether Kellet, is a village shop—the last shop in the village. If that office closes, the nearest one, although it may be within the recommended distance, is very hard to get to because there is no direct public transport. No thought has been given to the proposals by the Post Office. That is why we should take a step back and rethink them.
I have concerns also about the Crown office network and what will happen to that. Crown offices across the country give a reliable service to the public. The staff are highly trained and we must be careful that we are not franchising them out. We should ensure that they are protected.
I saw a press release from the Communication Workers Union and I agree with what it says. It calls on the Government
"to suspend the deeply unpopular closure programme and provide lasting investment to secure the future of the Post Office network".
However, the union also says that it is
"concerned that the Conservative Party does not have the best interests of the network at heart, as its policy effectively calls for it to be dismantled".
Let us have a bit of honesty in the debate. Let us not have complete opportunism from the Opposition.
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