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'Post Office deal secures future of South Lakes network': says Farron

January 25, 2012 9:55 AM

TF and post officeLocal MP Tim Farron has today welcomed news that the government has secured the future of the Post Office network in a landmark deal.

The Royal Mail has agreed a 10-year deal to keep using post offices. The deal is a relief to campaigners like South Lakes MP Tim Farron who had previously feared that the Royal Mail would have been free to stop using the post office network.

The deal gives additional certainty to sub postmasters across theSouthLakesand covers the full range of Royal Mail products available at post offices such as first and second class post, parcels, air mail, recorded and special deliveries. The deal adds to other recent progress for the Post Office, with extra Government funding, new contracts won, successful piloting of new models to transform many local post offices and improvements in financial services offered.

Income from Royal Mail business services currently accounts for around a third of sub-postmasters' income. The National Federation of Sub-Postmasters said the deal was "essential for the future wellbeing of our post offices."

Tim is looking at innovative ways to extend Post Office services in theSouthLakes. Recently he called on Cumbria County Council to back his proposal to provide grants to pubs to keep them open and, in return, ensure that they house vital community services such as Post Offices or the local village shop.

Commenting today Tim said: "This is great news. I have been pushing the government hard behind the scenes to extend their original plans of only a five year deal. Yesterday Ed Davey announced a 10 year plan which is fantastic news that offers certainty to Postmasters in Cumbria. I will keep doing everything I possibly can to defend and extend Post Office services in the South Lakes."

Postal Affairs Minister Edward Davey further commented: "On coming to office, we found a demoralised Post Office, still losing substantial sums despite years of cutbacks and closures. So a year ago I set out a radical plan to transform Post Office's future, with £1.34 billion of Government support and investment but without any closure programmes. Since then the Post Office has made good progress to become more competitive, building on its strengths. While it will take several years to turn round the Post Office's finances, it's increasingly clear the reforms are beginning to work."