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Lib Dems Attack Post Office Closures

June 12, 2008 5:46 PM

Writing in the June edition of the Bedford News, Bedford Borough Liberal Democrat Group Leader Cllr Dave Hodgson has attacked the Labour Government's post office closure programme. In the article, Cllr Hodgson encourages residents concerned about local branch closures to register their views when the public consultation begins in July.

Cllr Hodgson writes:

Last May it was announced that 2,500 local Post Office branches are to close across the country. Seven branches proposed for closure in Bedford Borough were published briefly on the internet, in error, in November last year. The official consultation period is due to start in July.

My colleagues and I have launched a petition against the closure of branches that we see as key to local communities. The overwhelming response from residents leaves us in no doubt about the vital role Post Office branches play in providing access to vital services and in the economic and social fabric of communities.

I was pleased that in January a meeting the Council backed a motion from the Liberal Democrats opposing further Post Office branch closures in Bedford Borough - many Post Offices have already been closed in the Borough since 1999 - as totally unjustified and with an inevitably adverse effect on community life. Councillors agreed that there has been a systematic effort by the Government, over the last few years, to reduce the footfall of people using Post Offices by switching pensions, TV Licences, driving licences and other services away from the Post Office.

The Council also agreed to look into providing Post Office services as some other councils are doing.

The list of local branches planned for closure reveals that both urban and rural communities are all likely to be affected. While there are different issues affecting these areas, one common result of post office branch closures across all of them will be less sustainable communities.

When the official consultation period starts on July the 8th I would encourage anyone concerned about Post Office closures to register their views. Please do sign a petition and, if you possibly can, write your own personal letter of complaint to: National Consultation Team, Post Office Ltd, Freepost Consultation Team.