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More small Post Offices face closure as officials cut costs

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More small Post Offices face closure as officials cut costs

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More small Post Offices face closure as officials cut costs: Hundreds set to be moved into supermarkets and other shops

Hundreds of town and village post offices are being closed to cut costs
Bosses are demanding sub-postmasters move their shops to other stores
If they refuse, their post office could be forcibly moved to another venue

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Hundreds of small town and village post offices are being closed as officials cut costs, it emerged last night.

Bosses have already moved 1,000 to supermarkets, petrol stations and even pet shops to replace dedicated branches.

They now stand accused of demanding that independent sub-postmasters close their old-fashioned counters and move into other shops too. If they refuse – or cannot prove their branch is profitable enough – their post office could be forcibly moved to another venue.

The government-owned Post Office is distinct from Royal Mail, which was privatised in 2013. The network of franchise shops provides a collection point for benefits and pensions, as well as selling stamps and financial products including savings accounts and mortgages.

The organisation has received £2billion of taxpayers' money since 2010 to fund its so-called 'network transformation'.

More than 4,000 of Britain's 11,500 post offices have already switched to this new model, working from a single till point either in their original branch, or inside another shop. The Post Office claims this latter option will ensure a long-term future for struggling branches, because customers will be more inclined to spend money on services while doing their shopping.

However, critics fear that if the new tills do not make enough money, postal services could be withdrawn from towns and villages altogether.

Opponents also claim the changes will mean long queues behind customers doing their weekly grocery shop.

In addition, they warn that some new franchises will not be able to offer more complex banking services previously available in dedicated shops.

Initially, joining the new system was voluntary. Sub-postmasters who signed up agreed to forego an annual income of about £10,000 in return for commission on sales. This meant that last year payments to sub-postmasters were down £40million on the year before.

However, sub-postmasters who have resisted the reforms have now received letters and visits from officials telling them they must sign up or lose their post office.

Andy Furey, of the Communication Workers Union, said: 'Postmasters are being told if they refuse the new business model they will be paid off, closed down and the franchise given to another store in the area. At the end of the day this is public money being used to close post offices and downgrade the network.'


EVEN PRIME MINISTER'S LOCAL BRANCH IS GOING

A sub-postmaster in David Cameron’s constituency is being forced to shut her post office and has appealed to the Prime Minister for help.

For the last five years, Elaine Newbold has been running the only post office in the picturesque Cotswold town of Charlbury – just three miles from Mr Cameron’s Oxfordshire home.

But in March she was asked to sign a new contract agreeing to terminate her £10,000-a-year guaranteed income and run all the services from her shop till. In return she would receive a store makeover and commission for every transaction she carried out for the Post Office.

Mrs Newbold, who runs the branch with her husband Tim, refused the offer after realising the business would no longer be profitable. The Post Office then said they would find another retailer in Charlbury willing to run the service from their shop, and two days later advertised the vacancy online. They are not yet believed to have found a replacement.

Mrs Newbold said: ‘I told them it is not viable for me to make money just from sales of stationary and cards, plus the commission from Post Office transactions. I would not earn enough to keep going.

‘I wasn’t given an option to stay as I am... so I will have to close.

‘I suppose I will have to try to make the shop work without the post office.’

She said it would mean the loss of the ‘personal service’ she provides to customers – 600 of whom have already signed a petition against the closure.

The businesswoman added: ‘I have written to David Cameron and he is looking into it. It is affecting a lot of people.’

A Post Office spokesman said: ‘If a branch chooses not take up the new model, we will seek out alternative viable sites.’

The Post Office has pledged to keep the number of branches in Britain at 11,500 – but the CWU said the 'transformation' policy represents 'closures by any other name', because some towns would see their only branch replaced with a single till point within another shop.

Mr Furey said he expected 'hundreds' of smaller post offices would shut and be placed in supermarkets that would 'do away with trained staff'.

The Post Office insisted that many sub-postmasters who had switched to a single-till system were delighted, and reported higher sales. A spokesman said: 'We are certainly not closing branches. We must ensure the long-term viability of branches for the communities they serve and the people who rely on them.

'So far, out of 4,000 converted into new modern retail outlets over 3,000 postmasters have chosen to move on to the new model ... if a branch chooses not take up the new model, we will seek out alternative viable sites. However, no move will take place unless there is a retail outlet nearby which can offer longer-term viability and this move is always subject to a public consultation.'

They added that Post Offices inside other shops would offer '95 per cent of services offered at Post Office branches'.

More than 3,000 rural post offices have been protected from the changes and will remain in their current form. Some larger sites, mostly in city centres, will also remain untouched.

A Department for Business spokesman said: 'These issues are operational and contractual matters between Post Office Limited and sub-postmasters.'
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Re: More small Post Offices face closure as officials cut co

Post by awesomek »

Parts of this I think reading between the lines should read,

The Post Office insisted that many sub-postmasters who had switched to a single-till system were pissed off, and reported higher costs. A spokesman said: 'We certainly are closing branches. We must ensure the long-term cost cutting of branches to maintain our high salaries and bugger the communities they serve and the people who rely on them.

A Department for Business spokesman said: 'These issues are certainly not just operational and contractual matters between Post Office Limited and sub-postmasters as they drastically affect voters and taxpayers who pay our wages. and we give loads of money to the Post Office for doing bugger all just like us.

Mr Cameron said “I do not use the Post Office anyway and by not giving anymore government work they might close on their own and I will save millions in subsidies for the Post Office”. :cuppa
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