I am informed by the Post Office Ltd. that historical data on the numbers of post office openings and closures are not maintained separately. The numbers of post offices operating in Scotland over the last three financial years were as follows:
End March 1998—2,051
End March 1999—2,026
End March 2000—1,999
End March 2001—1,936.
I am informed by the Post Office that an on-going revision of data has affected individual country totals. I also understand that, across the UK as a whole, of the closures in the year ending March 2001, the Post Office designate only four as permanent.
A £2 million fund to support relocation and refurbishment initiatives by volunteer or community groups to maintain or reopen post office facilities in rural areas where the traditional post office is closing received parliamentary approval in July.