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Post Office Network — [James Gray in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:30 am on 10th March 2020.

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Photo of Marion Fellows Marion Fellows SNP Whip, Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Disabilities) 9:30 am, 10th March 2020

That will be one of my asks of the Minister. I have numerous asks, which might not surprise those present.

The Scottish post office network has the highest number of temporarily closed branches or temporary operators in the UK. Figures from Post Office Ltd show that of 1,016 temporarily closed branches, 134 are in Scotland, representing 13% of all temporarily closed branches; 52 of the 315 branches run by a temporary operator are in Scotland. Temporary postmasters step in when a postmaster leaves and a permanent postmaster cannot be found. This is becoming more and more common. People do not want to take on post offices in the present climate because of the difficulties involved.

The Tories’ continued refusal to support postmasters and the post office network particularly affects Scottish communities. I am sure other Members will testify to the importance of post offices in their own nations and constituencies. Some have already done so by intervention. What does the Minister propose to do about it? If she sees it as a matter for Post Office Ltd, will she ask it what it intends to do about it?