Posts Tagged ‘Post Office privatisation’

We must keep the Post public

18/07/2012, 11:56:15 AM

by Amanda Ramsay

Yesterday the Business, Innovation and Skills select committee published Post Office Network Transformation: a progress report, scrutinising controversial plans to change post office services. It makes stark reading for users of postal services and postal workers alike.

From this summer, many consumers across the UK will see a new model of post office in their area known as a Post Office Local, moving services to within existing retail premises, such as shops and garages. The so called “Local model” will not offer the full product range of traditional sub-post offices, leaving hundreds of postmasters and their communities facing the loss of core post office services.

Billy Hayes, Communication Workers Union (CWU) general secretary, is calling for a moratorium on any formal rollout of the Locals model and says: “If this programme marches ahead, post offices close and then services fail, it will either be costly to re-open a post office or will leave communities without these services.”

The Locals model would have simply been rolled out, had it not been for the work of the MPs on the Business, Innovation and Skills select committee and the CWU, who asked the committee to carry out this review.

This Tory-led government wasted no time in getting to work on privatising postal services. Something even Margaret Thatcher hesitated to do. The Postal Services Act (2011) allows the government to privatise the Royal Mail. The Post Office is already operating as an independent company as of this year, with little noticeable political discussion or dissent. There needs to be a high profile public campaign to protect this valued institution.

Right-wing calls for these changes to post office services date back to 2010 when the government made a policy announcement: “Securing the Post Office Network in the Digital Age”. One of the arguments advanced at the time was that the rise of e-mail correspondence had reduced the need for post office services. But, the huge rise of internet shopping says otherwise, as parcel traffic is at a high.


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