Members of Parliament have today (Thursday 25th April) been debating the future of the Post Office Network at a time when one in five postmasters are considering closing in the near future.
Local MP John Lamont took part in the debate and said that more needs to be done to protect the network, particularly in rural areas like the Scottish Borders.
Speaking about the number of constituents who got in touch when Eyemouth Post Office temporarily closed last year John Lamont said the reaction to losing a post office was as strong as the opposition to losing a bank branch of public service like a library.
During the debate, a range of suggestions were put forward, including increasing the subsidy paid to post offices, reviewing the modernisation programme, increasing the pay to postmasters and increasing the number of branches directly managed by Post Office Ltd.
Responding to the debate, Minister for Postal Services Kelly Tolhurst MP said she would take the concerns of MPs back to the Post Office and continue to stand up for the network.
Speaking in the debate, John Lamont MP said: “The Post Office Network provides an invaluable service, which needs protected.
“I know from my constituents how important the post office network is to rural communities such as those that I represent in the Scottish Borders. When the post office in Eyemouth closed temporarily last year, I received a huge number of complaints, letters and emails from residents worried about how they would access their benefits, pensions and other postal services.
“In fact, the reaction was as strong as the opposition to losing a local bank branch or another public service such as a local library.
“I would therefore urge the Minister to look closely at this issue. Do we need to be looking at an increase in the network subsidy? Or can the Government do more to support postmasters who provide over the counter services on its behalf?
John concluded by saying: “People are clearly using postal services differently, and that trend will inevitably continue, which reinforces the need for the UK Government to continue to monitor and review the sustainability of the network.”