Post Office Closures

Trade and Industry written question – answered on 4th February 2004.

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Photo of Michael Fabricant Michael Fabricant Shadow Minister (Trade and Industry) (Trade and Economic Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what steps she is taking to ensure that there is adequate consultation with relevant hon. Members and other interested parties when an urban post office is nominated for closure.

Photo of Jacqui Smith Jacqui Smith Minister of State (Industry and the Regions and Deputy Minister for Women), Department of Trade and Industry

Proposals for closures of sub-post offices under the urban network reinvention programme are put out to public consultation, including relevant Members of Parliament, in accordance with the code of practice agreed between Post Office Ltd. and Postwatch. In preparing closure proposals, Post Office Ltd. collect a range of information relevant to the provision of post office services in an area. This includes local authority plans, environmental and transport information, local shopping habits and other local developments and features. With the move to area plans, the public consultation period has been extended from four to six weeks during which comments and representations, including new or additional information, can be submitted for consideration by Post Office Ltd. before they reach a final decision. Recent experience of the programme has shown that there is a clear need for Post Office Ltd. to respond promptly to issues raised during the consultation and to explain its decisions more fully. The Government has impressed on the company the urgent need to improve its performance on this aspect of the programme.

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