Anger at 'no' to state-backed bank

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The Government unveiled plans to invest in Post Offices, cut queues and increase opening times yesterday but angered unions, business and pensioner groups by deciding against setting up a state-backed Post Office Bank.

A coalition representing workers, businesses and pensioners has been campaigning for years for a Post Office Bank, but ministers said it would be too time-consuming and expensive, arguing that now was "not the right time".

The Government promised an "exciting new era" for the Post Office when it pressed ahead with controversial plans to privatise parts of the Royal Mail, and said it was keen for banking to be extended into the post branch network.

The postal affairs minister Ed Davey announced £1.34bn of funding over the next four years, but unions said this was £360m less than Labour's last package.