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Postal Services

Volume 405: debated on Monday 19 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland pursuant to her Answer of 4 February, Official Report, column 133W, on rural post offices (Scotland), how much of the money the Government is putting towards rural post offices over the next three years will be spent on Scottish post offices; and of the funding for Scotland, how much of this represents (a) a guarantee of existing subsidies and (b) investment in infrastructure. [114389]

The Government has placed a formal requirement on Royal Mail to maintain the rural post office network and to prevent avoidable closures, in the first instance to 2006. This has been underpinned by a £450 million allocation to Post Office Ltd. The money will provide direct support to rural post offices and maintain front line services in local communities. It will also help to ensure Post Office Ltd provide reasonable access for all citizens to "over the counter" services and, in addition, it will give Post Office Ltd the financial flexibility to pilot modern innovative ways of delivering services in rural areas.Post Office Ltd will administer the fund within guidelines and parameters set by the Government.