Thursday, December 07, 2006

Bryn Post Office vacancy

Yet another local post office is under threat because of difficulty in finding someone willing to take over when the current sub-postperson retires in the New Year. Residents will welcome their councillors publicising the search for a replacement.

However, it is too simplistic to say that "This is not the result of any commercial decision by the Post Office to cut the service", as the councillors do. They echo the words of Tony Blair at Prime Minister's Questions yesterday, that the decline of the post office network is due to "changing patterns" of paying for services and drawing benefits.

The truth is that the government is actively discouraging pensioners and others from making use of the post office. As well as making it more difficult to draw benefits in cash, it has also reduced agency payments to sub-postpeople. The decision to withdraw the facility to pay for TV licences at post offices in favour of the Pay Point network (is there a Pay Point in Bryn, by the way?) is another blow.

It is little wonder that possible volunteers are deterred by the narrowing margins of post office business and worries over the future of the network as a whole. It takes a large dose of community spirit to encourage new sub-postmasters and mistresses at present.

Liberal Democrats would not only restore the facilities of the Post Office Card Account (due to expire shortly), but also restructure Post Office Services in a way which would give every postmaster and postmistress a personal financial share in the business.
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