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Postal Services

Volume 449: debated on Wednesday 19 July 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the future of the Post Office network. (86227)

The DTI is backing the efforts of the management of Post Office Ltd. to turn the business around and create a network appropriate for the 21st century. We have invested over £2 billion in total since 1999 to help them to do so.

We want to see a Post Office network that meets the needs of today and the future and not those of 20 or 30 years ago. The DTI are discussing with other Government Departments and Post Office Ltd. how we can best achieve this.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what assessment he has made of the impact on employment in (a) Blaenau Gwent and (b) other local economies of the closure of local post offices. (84952)

The Government are committed to a viable Post Office network and have invested more than £2 billion to help maintain it. We continue to support the rural post office network with annual Social Network Payments of £150 million until 2008 and the policy of preventing avoidable closures of rural post offices remains in place. The Department is in discussion with Post Office Ltd. and other Government Departments about the future of the network. Decisions will be taken after proper consideration of all the issues.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what discussions have taken place between (a) Ministers and (b) officials from his Department and Royal Mail on the new pricing system due to be introduced on 21 August; and if he will make a statement. (85769)

None. This is a matter for Postcomm, the independent regulator for postal services.

Postcomm's decision to introduce pricing in proportion followed extensive consultations and detailed discussions with Royal Mail.

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what recent discussions he has had with the Post Office on the accuracy of post box collection times; and how many (a) early and (b) late collections were recorded in the latest period for which figures are available. (85914)

None. This is an operational matter for Royal Mail. Adam Crozier, the Chief Executive of Royal Mail has been asked to reply direct to the hon. Member.