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Minister responds to Post Office article

[Thursday 26 October 2006]
jim fitzpatrick
Fitzpatrick responds to
Daelnet article

POSTAL Services Minister Jim Fitzpatrick has responded to fears that the £150 million life-line for rural Post offices is to be axed.

The Minister claims that an article published last week by Daelnet in which we claimed the subsidy is to be axed is inaccurate and has asked us to publish his response.

Whilst Daelnet stands by the article, we are more than happy to engage in debate and provide an outlet for all points of view. To that end the letter is published below.

Here at Daelnet we believe that Post Offices are an essential and integral part of rural community life. Whilst we are pleased to hear the Minister recognise the subsidy will be needed for the foreseeable future, we will be watching developments with interest to see what any future package actually amounts too.

Dear Sir/Madam

Let me reassure your readers that the Government believes firmly that Post Offices are an important part of British life, particularly in rural and deprived urban areas.

This is why we have made investment of more than £2bn since 1999, and we will continue to support the national network. As the Secretary of State Alistair Darling has made absolutely clear a subsidy will continue to be needed for the foreseeable future.

As the National Federation of Sub-Postmasters have said themselves, the network in its current state is 'unsustainable'. This year the network is expected to lose £4 million every week, and some of the smallest post offices are trying to get by on fewer than three customers a day.

What sub-postmasters and what customers want is long-term stability. The Government will be announcing proposals shortly to address this and help Post Office Limited ensure a stable footing for the Post office network going forward.

Jim Fitzpatrick
Postal Services Minister

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