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Post Offices

Volume 406: debated on Thursday 5 June 2003

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4.40 pm

It is a great honour to present to the House a petition from the west of Scotland seniors forum. Its headquarters is based in my constituency but, as its name suggests, it campaigns on behalf of the elderly over a wide area of Scotland.

Tremendous concern has been reflected throughout Scotland and the United Kingdom about the effect of the current post office closure programme on our local communities and, especially, the elderly. Many older people, including a significant percentage of older people in my constituency, rely entirely on their local post office to obtain their pensions and pay their bills. Many elderly people rely solely on public transport and many suffer from mobility problems. In addition, many live a considerable distance from alternative banking facilities. Such closures are likely to hit our elderly the hardest.

The west of Scotland seniors forum has collected a magnificent 9,076 signatures from post office users in many parts of Scotland. It calls for the current closure plan to be stopped and hopes that its appeal will be taken seriously.

The petition states:
To the House of Commons
The petition of the West of Scotland Seniors Forum
Declares that Consignia/Post Office Ltd is wrong to consider closing 3,000 local post offices as this will lead to poorer services for older people who rely on their local post office for many transactions. The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry to intervene and stop the closures.

And the petitioners remain, etc.

To lie upon the Table.