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May 17, 2007 12:00 AM

The Government has today been accused of failing to meet the needs of post office users as it announced it was going ahead with a massive closure programme.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, Tim Farron said:

"This announcement cannot cover up the fact that the Government is sounding the death knell for many communities across the country. The overall plan for at least 2,500 closures remains in place.

"Villages that have already lost their school and shops, elderly residents in the suburbs who risk losing their independence and the poorest in our inner cities all now face a bleak future.

Mr Farron continued:

"The collapse in morale across the whole network will lead to many more closures than the thousands announced today.

"The Liberal Democrats have put forward a plan for an additional £2bn investment in the Post Office that would create a thriving network.

"The Government sees only a business in inevitable decline. Its plan is designed purely to save money and has nothing to do with meeting the long-term needs of people who rely on post offices for essential services."