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I will certainly take on board the Member’s point. However, our plans mean that many small post offices will not have to pay any rates at all.
That will result in an average saving of £1,620 a year. Others will have to pay only 50% of their rates liability, which will result in an average saving of £2,580 a year. The Member will also be aware that, in recognition of the economic downturn to which Members referred today, I announced a freeze to the non-domestic regional rate. That will help all post offices and all other businesses at this time of recession.
We all know the value of post offices, and we all support the post office network. If other measures can be taken for post offices, other Departments need to be pressed and challenged about what they can do. My Department is limited in what it can do, but, through the measures on rates, it is making a considerable contribution to helping post offices. I am sure that the Member will wish to pursue some areas with other Departments.