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Sub-Postmasters

Volume 86: debated on Monday 11 November 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will publish in the Official Report a detailed statement of disbursements from the fund set up by Her Majesty's Government to augment the income of sub-postmasters following the changes in arrangements for paying some national insurance pensions; what sums have been and are to be paid into this fund; and what plans he has for further payments from it.

On 13 May 1983 my right hon. Friend the Member for Wanstead and Woodford (Mr. Jenkin), the then Secretary of State for Industry, in reply to a question from my hon. Friend the Member for Poole (Mr. Ward) announced that agreement had been reached with the National Federation of Sub-Postmasters on the guidelines for a £2 million fund to help smaller sub-post offices that would be adversely affected by changes in social security benefit payment methods should new business not grow at the same rate as DHSS business reduced. Copies of the guidelines were subsequently placed in the Library.As explained in the guidelines the fund has an overall limit of £2 million and will be deemed to be closed on 30 April 1987. The guidelines also made clear that the purpose of the fund is to preserve an adequate sub-post office network; and not necessarily to retain every sub-office or to preserve income. The fund is operated by the Post Office and the Department of Trade and Industry reimburses the Post Office, on a monthly basis, for payments made to sub-postmasters. There are no plans to change the guidelines and payments will continue to be made consistent with them.The Post Office has been reimbursed by the Department of Trade and Industry for payments to sub-postmasters as follows:

£
1983–84
August2,085·79
September2,619·10
October1,721·79
November2,724·05
December2,898·13
January2,474·54
February3,998·54
March4,106·03
Total22,627·97
1984–85
April3,699·72
May3,560·49
June3,860·95
July4,481·81
August4,694·01
September6,557·00
October5,222·48
November5,619·12
December5,298·22
January5,679·76
February6,117·64
March5,661·06
Total60,452·26
1985–86
April6,040·44
May5,754·98
June5,999·90
July6,298·01
Total24,093·33