The hon. Member for Heywood and Middleton (Liz McInnes) is very consumed by the graphic image on her iPad, but the more immediate matter is that of her petition.
I do apologise, Mr Speaker. I was distracted.
I rise to present this petition on behalf of the residents of Heywood and Middleton. The petition notes the vital services that Crown post offices provide to their communities, particularly in towns such as ours with only one surviving bank branch and where the post office provides vital access to financial services.
The Post Office proposes to move Heywood post office from its current location and to franchise the service to an as-yet unopened retail unit in a currently vacant shop in the town, leading to the fears that, should the new shop fail, the post office branch will also be lost. This petition, which has received 1,450 signatures, expresses concern that this move will adversely affect jobs, quality of service and accessibility, and will have a negative impact on Heywood town centre.
The petition states:
The petition of residents of Heywood and Middleton,
Declares that Crown Post Offices provide a vital service to their communities; further that Post Office Limited propose to close Heywood Post Office and to franchise the service to a local retailer; further that there is concern that this will adversely affect jobs, quality of service, and accessibility, and have a negative impact on Heywood town centre; and further that a local paper petition and online petition on this matter has received signatures.
The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government and Post Office Limited to keep Heywood Post Office open at its current location.
And the petitioners remain, etc.