Union: Post office closures 'growing trend'

More than 1,000 post offices have shut or been put up for sale this year, with some not showing up in official closure lists, according to new research today.

The Communication Workers Union said there was a "growing trend" of closures in 2010 which it warned would get worse if the Government pressed ahead with controversial plans to privatise the Royal Mail.



A study by the union showed that 162 post offices were listed as "long-term temporary closures" this year and over 900 were put up for sale,



Many are likely to stay closed indefinitely and those that do re-open are liable to provide a diminished service, such as an outreach van with no access to financial services, said the union.



The CWU said almost 10% of the entire network was currently up for sale, warning they could also be lost to the "temporary closure loophole".



Many subpostmasters are retiring or leaving the business because of the low levels of revenue generated in sub-offices, and in many cases it is difficult to find alternative premises or service providers, according to the CWU.



General secretary Billy Hayes said: "Post offices have been closing at an alarming rate this year, but didn't register because they are misleadingly classed as temporary closures.



"We're seriously concerned about empty government rhetoric on avoiding post office closures. These promises are contradicted by government taking business away from the Post Office and by the planned privatisation of Royal Mail.



"Post Offices rely on work generated by mails business and most would be unsustainable if this was removed. Many of the proposals in the Postal Services Bill, including privatisation of Royal Mail and splitting the postal group apart, seriously threaten mails business arrangements for the Post Office.



"With uncertainty hanging over Royal Mail and the post office network, it's no surprise that buyers are hard to find. The government must change its approach or face the decimation of our cherished post office network. Who's going to buy a business which stands to lose a substantial part of its income?"



Ministers have pledged there will be no repeat of the closure programme under the previous Labour Government, arguing that the plan to privatise the Royal Mail will safeguard the branch network.







A Post Office spokesman said: "The Government has already said there is no programme of closures.



"The Post Office has the largest network in the UK and there will always be an element of turnover. The figures quoted by the CWU simply reflect the number of temporary closures and the number of branches that change hands.



"The important thing to remember is that the majority of branches reopen when there is a temporary closure.



"In fact, more than 200 branches change hands every three months and historically, up to 10% of the network of more than 11,500 branches will change ownership annually."



A Department for Business spokesman said: "This is scaremongering from the CWU. The reality is that at least 200 branches change hands every quarter - there is nothing unusual about this figure."

Life and Style
A teenager boy wakes up.
life
Life and Style
Researchers have said it could take only two questions to identify a problem with alcohol
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Critics say Kipling showed loathing for India's primitive villagers in The Jungle Book
filmChristopher Walken, Bill Murray, Scarlett Johanssen Idris Elba, Andy Serkis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Cate Blanchett and Christian Bale
Life and Style
Playing to win: for Tanith Carey, pictured with Lily, right, and Clio, even simple games had to have an educational purpose
lifeTanith Carey explains what made her take her foot off the gas
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
A still from Duncan Campbell's hour-long film 'It for Others'
Turner Prize 2014
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Tony Hadley in a scene from ‘Soul Boys Of The Western World’
musicSpandau Ballet are back together - on stage and screen
Arts and Entertainment
From left to right: Ed Stoppard as Brian Epstein, Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Elliott Cowan as George Martin in 'Cilla'
tvCilla review: A poignant ending to mini-series
News
i100
Life and Style
Bearing up: Sebastian Flyte with his teddy Aloysius in Brideshead Revisited
lifePhilippa Perry explains why a third of students take a bear to uni
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Alan Sugar appearing in a shot from Apprentice which was used in a Cassette Boy mashup
artsA judge will rule if pieces are funny enough to be classed as parodies
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

LSA (afterschool club) vacancy in Newport

£40 per day + Travel Scheme : Randstad Education Cardiff: The Job: Our client ...

Trust Accountant - Kent

NEGOTIABLE: Austen Lloyd: TRUST ACCOUNTANT - KENTIf you are a Chartered Accou...

Geography Teacher

£85 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Cheshire: randstad education are curre...

Teaching Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Group: You must:- Speak English as a first lang...

Day In a Page

Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?
This man just ran a marathon in under 2 hours 3 minutes. Is a 2-hour race in sight?

Is a sub-2-hour race now within sight?

Dennis Kimetto breaks marathon record
We shall not be moved, say Stratford's single parents fighting eviction

Inside the E15 'occupation'

We shall not be moved, say Stratford single parents
Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Air strikes alone will fail to stop Isis

Talks between all touched by the crisis in Syria and Iraq can achieve as much as the Tornadoes, says Patrick Cockburn
Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

Nadhim Zahawi: From a refugee on welfare to the heart of No 10

The Tory MP speaks for the first time about the devastating effect of his father's bankruptcy
Witches: A history of misogyny

Witches: A history of misogyny

The sexist abuse that haunts modern life is nothing new: women have been 'trolled' in art for 500 years
Shona Rhimes interview: Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Meet the most powerful woman in US television

Writer and producer of shows like Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes now has her own evening of primetime TV – but she’s taking it in her stride
'Before They Pass Away': Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Endangered communities photographed 'like Kate Moss'

Jimmy Nelson travelled the world to photograph 35 threatened tribes in an unashamedly glamorous style