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MEP anger at list of Worcestershire post offices considered for closure

August 27, 2008 2:03 PM

Local Euro-MP Liz Lynne has reacted angrily to the release today of the list of Worcestershire post offices earmarked for consultation on closure. The consultation programme is part of the government's wider post office closures plan and is likely to see many on the list closed along with up to 2500 nationwide.

Liz Lynne, who has campaigned against the closures across the region, said:

"The closing of local services anywhere will inconvenience people but the removal of post offices from a county like Worcestershire could literally be the death knell for some communities.

"Many post offices are also combined with the local shop, which may struggle to survive without the post office counter. If they close, many people on low incomes or reduced mobility could be forced to travel much further for vital goods and services they can currently find close to home.

"Local people must make sure their voice is heard and sign petitions where possible. There is an alternative to these closures and the Liberal Democrats have a fully-costed plan which would revive the post office network."

On the claim sometimes made that the EU is behind the closures, Liz added:

"Some politicians would have you believe this is all the EU's fault, but I assure you it is not so; the closure programme comes directly from a political decision by the UK government to remove services from post office counters and the resultant fall in customers.

"With fuel costs so high the government should be ensuring that essential services are delivered as locally as possible, not forcing people to travel ever further to find them."

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

For information on the Liberal Democrats £2bn plan to revive the post office network, and to sign the petition against closures, please see: http://www.libdems.org.uk/commerce/issues/postoffice.html

4000 post offices have already closed under the Labour government since 1997, not including the 2500 possible branches included in the current closure programme. Under the previous Conservative government some 3500 post offices were closed.

While often directly blamed on the EU's liberalisation of postal services, the loss of much of the business that post offices used to enjoy has been caused by successive government decisions to remove services from post offices, from benefit payments to the sale of TV licences.