Post Office Closures: Scotland

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – in the House of Commons on 9th February 2021.

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Photo of David Mundell David Mundell Conservative, Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale

What assessment his Department has made of the effect of the closure of post offices operated by CJ Lang & Son Ltd on the post office network in Scotland.

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (London)

Post offices and postmasters have played an absolutely key role in our communities, especially at this particular time, and I am pleased to report that, of the 25 CJ Lang branches due to close—while discussions continue—CJ Lang has agreed to keep 18 open. Post Office Ltd is actively working on alternative arrangements to ensure continuity of services for affected locations.

Photo of David Mundell David Mundell Conservative, Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale

My constituents in Eastriggs, Thornhill, Gretna and the Georgetown area of Dumfries will be pleased to hear that their local post offices are not to close at this time, particularly during a pandemic. Can the Minister reassure me, however, that in the negotiations or discussions that are to take place between the Post Office and CJ Lang—or SPAR, as it is known locally—the Post Office will have the flexibility to look at new models of operation of a post office in such a retailer so that that model can meet the needs of the retailer, the needs of the Post Office and, most importantly, the needs of the post office customer?

Photo of Paul Scully Paul Scully Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Minister of State (London)

My right hon. Friend has been a big champion for post offices in his constituency and across Scotland, including the world’s oldest post office in Sanquhar. I am glad to report that, yes, the Post Office does want to be flexible in delivering postal services across the country, including different models, according to demand.