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Post offices across the South Lakes 'still not safe'

September 4, 2009 5:16 PM

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has uncovered new evidence of the undermining of local post offices by Post Office Ltd. Even after the conclusion of the Government's 'Network Change Programme', post offices across the South Lakes are still under threat, according to the MP.

Tim's discoveries came during his summer tour in conversations with local residents and subpostmasters across the area. Tim said: "There are two key issues at work here, both of which are undermining the post office network, and both of which could leave local towns and villages without their post office.

"Firstly, it is becoming clearer that the moment a subpostmaster retires, Post Office Ltd are not interested in finding an alternative location for the post office. Just months ago they were actively searching for new premises - now their first and only thought is to move the post office over to an outreach service on limited hours.

"Secondly, the outreach services themselves are suffering because of the IT equipment that Post Office Ltd provides for them. The equipment constantly breaks - more than one outreach location told me that whereas they used to have IT problems say once a year, they are now having problems once or twice a month with the equipment for the outreach service. Given the time it takes for IT support to arrive, and the fact they will only go to the host post office and not the outreach location, one of the limited slots for the service that week gets cancelled. Some outreach locations have seen people actively stop using the outreach service at all because of these reliability problems."

Tim is raising these issues with the Parliamentary Business and Enterprise Select Committee, and is asking them to review the underhand actions of Post Office Ltd in recent months.

Tim added: "We were told after the closure programme last year that Post Office Ltd would work to secure the remainder of the post office network in the South Lakes. It's clear from their actions over the last few months that they really do not care about our local communities, and have now actively started trying to shut more post offices by the back door."