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Post Office Closures

Part of Opposition Day — [7th Allotted Day] – in the House of Commons at 2:11 pm on 19th March 2008.

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Photo of John Hutton John Hutton Secretary of State, Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform, Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform 2:11 pm, 19th March 2008

I am not disputing the hon. Gentleman's figures about profit, but that is not the argument. The argument is that 3,500 sub-post offices closed and the Conservative Government made no effort to keep any of them open. If he wants to contest that fact, let him come back to the Dispatch Box and describe the actions— they always speak louder than words—that the Conservative Government took to keep the network at its existing size. They took no such action.

One other rather inconvenient truth for the hon. Gentleman is that the use of the internet poses the greatest challenge to the post office network. Every month, 1 million people renew their car tax licences online. They used to do that in sub-post offices—that is true. It was certainly true in the 1980s and the 1990s, because we did not have the internet.

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