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Post Offices

Volume 467: debated on Thursday 22 November 2007

24. To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what account he has taken of the level of deprivation, numbers of elderly people and the likely effects on business of post office closures in areas where closures are proposed. (166805)

On 17 May, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced the Government’s response to the public consultation on the post office network, which included the introduction of minimum access criteria. These criteria will ensure reasonable access across the whole country, and in particular safeguard coverage in rural, deprived urban and remote areas where communities are most in need of post office services.

In developing local implementation plans Post Office Ltd will be required to consider local demographics and the impact on local economies.

25. To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform what recent discussions he has had with Post Office Ltd on the consultation process for post office closures. (166806)

On 17 May my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced the Government’s response to the public consultation on the post office network, including details of the local consultation process.

After local consultations are closed, Post Office Ltd will consider the responses, discuss any specific issues with Postwatch and make any changes to their proposals that they deem appropriate. There is also provision for Postwatch to nominate individual branches for further discussion and jointly review these with POL before final decisions are reached. The detailed consultation process is agreed in a Memorandum of Understanding between Post Office Ltd and Postwatch.