Socialist Worker

Massacre of post offices

Issue No. 2031

The public opposes post office closures

The public opposes post office closures

The government was set to announce the closure of thousands of post offices on Thursday of this week, after Socialist Worker went to press.

Since Labour came to office, a quarter of Britain’s post offices have shut leaving a network of just over 14,000.

But the Department of Trade and Industry was expected to announce another giant programme of cuts this week.

Local post offices lost £111 million last year, according to official figures, and without a £150 million government subsidy for rural offices, the losses would have been greater.

That subsidy is being withdrawn in 2008, prompting the closure plan. Yet overall Royal Mail makes a huge profit.

The most recent accounts showed that Royal Mail made £355 million profit from its various businesses last year.

In any case, the “loss” at post offices leaves out their social role and their importance in the wider community.

A recent New Economics Foundation survey in Manchester showed that for every £10 earned in income, a post office generated £16.20 for its local economy.

Billy Hayes, the CWU union general secretary, said, “Royal Mail management are obsessed with profit.

“The post office is a public service and should not be driven solely by profit.

“It has a wider community role and there should be closer cross subsidy across the post office.

“There needs to be proper investment and the government needs to recognise its wider role in society.”

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