Coalition ‘vandalises’ Post Office

The Coalition Government has been accused of “vandalising” the Post Office network following the Department of Work & Pensions decision to pull the benefits contract out of the retail network and hand it to PayPoint.
The Communication Workers Union says the decision spells disaster for the future of the Post Office network and is a “betrayal of Britain’s most vulnerable”. The contract was worth £15m a year to the Post Office and brought vital footfall into the network. The Government promised to make the Post Office the “front office for government” in November, according to the CWU, but is now cutting even existing services.
CWU general secretary Billy Hayes said: “This is a cut too far. Taking government business away from the Post Office on top of privatising Royal Mail and taking that business away will cause the biggest closure programme we’ve ever seen. What they take away in revenue, the government will either have to give back through subsidy or promote mass closures.
“The Government can’t be trusted with our public services, our post offices or the care of the most vulnerable. This cabinet of millionaires has no idea what it’s like running a small business where the loss of one or two revenue streams can make the difference between profit and loss. Post Offices are a lifeline to many communities across the country.
“The Government has lied to voters about safeguarding the post office network. Instead of increasing work they’re taking it away. Instead of promoting trusted government-owned brands which are accessible to everyone, they’ve chosen a private company which many vulnerable people on benefits will not be able to access. It’s a betrayal of Britain’s most vulnerable and a despicable act of vandalism on our Post Office network.”
On November 9 2010, Minister for Postal Affairs Ed Davey said in a Ministerial Statement that the Government would find: “New opportunities for Post Office as the ‘Front Office for Government’, including examples of new pilots the Post Office is conducting in conjunction with Government Departments and closer working with local authorities.”
The Postal Services Bill (which is currently in the House of Lords) proposes to split the Post Office away from Royal Mail and provides no inter-business agreement to guarantee work and revenue for the Post Office. This is worth a third of the Post Office’s income.

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