Sunday, December 17, 2006

Montgomeryshire Post Offices Under Threat Again?

Montgomeryshire could lose all its village Post Offices following a government announcement this week

In Britain as a whole the government plans to reduce the current network of 14,300 post offices to 11,760. If that pattern were repeated in Montgomeryshire at least 20 could close but Plaid Cymru fears it could be far more as the government withdraws subsidies and leaves only "viable" offices open.

The Labour government is complaining about a subsidy for the Post Office of £250m per year in the same week that, because of its own incompetence, it is writing off debts of £1.1 billion to the Child Support Agency. The Post Office is not a private company. It is a public service and basically does a lot of the government's own administrative jobs such as selling car tax.

Under Labour 4,000 post offices have already been closed and it looks as if rural Wales will bear the brunt of this next round of closures. Labour has downgraded post offices by siphoning off government services which makes them less viable businesses. Plaid has been campaigning against Labour’s plans to close Post Offices which are used by over 350,000 people in Wales to access their benefits and pension. I believe that Post Offices have an essential social role in preserving communities as living entities and help combat social exclusion. Plaid wants to use post offices as government shop windows, providing income for local sub postmasters and so enhancing an essential service to the community.

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