Government spends £450m to save rural post offices

5 Dec 02
The government is to invest £450m over the next three years to try to keep rural post offices open.

06 December 2002

The funding, announced on December 2, includes £66m a year to maintain sub-postmasters' income.

The government has set aside £25m for a 'flexible fund' to encourage innovative methods for delivering services. These could include pilot schemes using mobile post offices or the modernisation of existing premises.

Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt said the package showed her department's commitment to the post office network. 'Post offices play a vital role in many rural communities', she added. 'They are much more than simply providers of mail services. In many places the post office is also the village shop, the local community centre, the business exchange and the bank.'

The funding will be administered by Post Office Ltd in return for the maintenance of the network of 8,500 rural post offices and a reduction in the number of closures. More than 400 shut in 2000.

The funding was welcomed by the National Federation of Sub-postmasters which represents most of Britain's 18,000 sub-postmasters.

Colin Baker, the organisation's general secretary, said: '£450m is a lot of money and it must not only be used to maintain services, it must be used to give these ailing businesses a viable future.

'We look forward to working with Post Office Ltd and government so that sub-postmasters have confidence once again in the future for their businesses so that this vital service can continue and be reinvigorated.'


Did you enjoy this article?