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Country News - 2002

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Send a postcard - save a post office
Wednesday 06 February

THE Government's aim to revitalise the rural economy by attracting business into the countryside will be dead on its feet if plans to privatise the postal service results in a poorer service in rural areas says the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) in the North West.

In an effort to make Government realise the importance of an efficient rural postal service the CLA is calling for everyone in rural areas to send a postcard of their local towns and villages to Postcomm making their views known.

The deadline for submissions is March 15th and all cards should be sent to: Ms Tasneem Azad, Deputy Director, Competition and Regulation Directorate, Postcomm, Hercules House, Hercules Road London SE1 7DB.

The CLA's NW Regional Director Douglas Chalmers said: "The first casualty of any postal sell-off would be the parts of the business which are least profitable - rural delivery services, effectively discriminating against rural businesses battling to survive and rural communities struggling to maintain services and remain viable."

"People and businesses in rural areas must not be deprived of postal deliveries and the CLA is calling on Government to state they will ensure all companies bidding for postal contracts to guarantee daily, doorstep deliveries to rural areas and with no cost penalty."

"Once again a decision has been taken based on urban priorities. But how many city businesses would be prepared to wait until lunch-time for their post, or be prepared to collect it from the post office themselves?

"How many could survive if the last collection was early afternoon? Yet this is the reality now for many rural businesses. If the service declines any further then businesses will leave the countryside in droves. When this happens, people, services, schools and other facilities necessary for rural living leave also, plunging the countryside into a spiral of decline. We must get this message across loud and clear."

"The whole process is subject to consultation, and we are asking rural communities to let their views known by using the very service that is under threat. Please send a postcard to Postcomm stating how important the rural post is to you. And please send a card with a local view - showing the very communities that are under threat."

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