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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

I absolutely agree. When the Crown post office in Motherwell closed, one of the biggest lobbying efforts I had was from small business owners who could nip into Motherwell town centre to deposit their cash. With the closure of different banks, they now struggle and have to find somewhere else. The Motherwell Crown post office became a small retail business with two counters instead of six. That post office used to have queues out of the door at certain times of the week, and the town centre benefited from people withdrawing and spending cash. That does not happen now, because although the post office does an excellent job—I have used it—it does not have the required capacity.

The CWU has raised the loss of service and expertise that can occur when post offices are taken over by chains such as WHSmith. The employees are TUPE-ed over, but within a year their pay is cut and they leave, so the business no longer has the expertise to help and serve communities when they need it.

The Minister has been taking note of all my asks, and I hope that she will respond positively. Rest assured that if she does not, I will be back, along with many of the hon. Members who are present. I look forward to yet another debate about post offices in the main Chamber on 19 March, thanks to the work of the all-party parliamentary group on post offices, of which I am a proud member.