Government backs mutual Post Office

 

The Government is pressing ahead with plans to mutualise Post Offices, saying the proposals were supported by staff and the public.

Postal affairs minister Norman Lamb said a consultation had revealed enthusiasm among subpostmasters, staff and the wider public for a stake in the Post Office.

"Post Office branches are relied upon by communities the length and breadth of the country," he said.

"That is why we have committed £1.34 billion of funding to the business and why there will be no closure programme under this Government. I want to make sure that the Post Office becomes a successful and secure business.

"This consultation has shown that those who know the Post Office best - its staff, subpostmasters and consumers - have a clear interest in playing a greater role in how it operates.

"A mutual Post Office would bring together the diverse interests of those who use, work for and run Post Office branches, with the shared purpose of running the business for the benefit of the public.

"I am incredibly excited by the prospect of establishing a mutual Post Office."

Billy Hayes, Communication Workers Union general secretary, said: "Today's report paints a positive future for the Post Office, but the suitability of a mutual model is still unclear.

"We're in favour of a successful operating model for the Post Office which delivers high quality services to communities across the UK, and if mutualisation can do that then that's great.

"We also agree with putting the workforce at the heart of the organisation."

National Federation of SubPostmasters general secretary George Thomson said: "Today's report represents a significant milestone on the road to creating a Post Office mutual, in which subpostmasters, staff and customers will all have a far greater say in the future of this vital national asset.

"Subpostmasters run 97% of our national network of Post Offices and have £2 billion invested in their branches.

"We therefore particularly welcome the government's recognition of the vital role subpostmasters will play in a Post Office mutual, and the importance of their contribution to the strategy of the business and the creation of a lean, efficient business model."

Andy Burrows, of Consumer Focus, said: "We welcome the Government's proposals, which are aimed at building a sustainable model for post offices.

"Mutualising the Post Office is a great opportunity and this is the start of what will be a long journey. For it to work there must be a balancing act between the interests of consumers and those of operators. Consumers need strong representation and it is good that the Government recognises this."

PA

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