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Post Office closures - what are our MPs really doing ?

March 5, 2008 11:48 PM

Speaking to a formal motion (reproduced at end of speech below) from the Liberal Democrat Group at last night's Council meeting, Councillor Suzanne Fletcher said:

This round of closures is affecting us right across our Borough, from rural, to suburban to deprived areas, and we all know how valued the Post Office network is amongst our communities, particularly by the elderly. Some people may ask why I am moving the proposal as we do not even have a Post Office in Elm Tree - despite great efforts in years gone by. The queues affect everyone, and the more Post Offices that close down, the more people have to not only travel further with a lot of inconvenience, but when they get there they have to queue for a long time. Indeed a very long time, and that can be painful and difficult with no chairs to rest on.

But who cares ? The consultation period has been cut from 3 months to 6 weeks, which shows how much they want to listen. The criteria does not take into account local geographical factors - the very thing people are complaining about. The Post Office has been starved of investment for 20 years, and 7,000 have been closed by both the Tory and Labour Government. No-one but the Liberal Democrats have been putting forward proposals that give options for business expansion of Post Offices, or options for employee shared ownership.

What are our MPs doing ? I really am fed up of the hypocrisy, passionate please, petition collecting & presenting, and photo opportunities (including one where the wrong Post Office was superimposed on a photo!). It is all very well for them to campaign for one to remain open - it will only result in another one up the road closing as the Government is insisting that 2,500 must close this round. Why are they not challenging the Government to change the system ? why have they not been telling Blair and Brown that these damaging closures must stop and bring in real investment where we build on the valuable social assets we have. We want their views on the network change programme, and we want to know what are they going to do about changing the rules and the system, instead of posing for photos ?

All members from all Parties did agree to this. We will see what the MPs have to say. Hopefully it will prod into some real action.

The motion said This council objects to the proposed closure of sub-post offices throughout Stockton Borough;

The people in the Borough of Stockton on Tees value the role of the local Post Office and do not wish to see the closure of any more Post Offices in the area.

Council resolves:-

1. To oppose the Post Office closure programme and respond to the consultation accordingly.

2. To contact local MPs and ask for their support in this matter and to elicit their views on the network change programme.