The petition of residents of Stoke and surrounding communities in Plymouth,
Declares that Stoke village is a vibrant shopping centre and the heart of the local community but that the loss of its post box is detrimental to the local shops and community; and further that the Royal Mail should restore its post box in Stoke Village as soon as possible.
The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to support the campaign for a new post box in Stoke Village and call on the Royal Mail to install it without delay.
And the petitioners remain, etc. —[Presented by Luke Pollard, Official Report, 7 July 2021; Vol. 698, c. 1020.]
Observations from the Under-Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Paul Scully):
It is important that people and businesses can access postal services and can send and receive letters and parcels regularly. That is why the Government are committed to ensuring the provision of a sustainable, efficient, accessible, and affordable universal postal service in the United Kingdom.
Royal Mail is a fully independent private business, and the Government do not have a role in the day-to-day operational matters of the company, including the location of specific post boxes.
However, the Office of Communications (Ofcom), as the independent regulator for the postal sector, requires Royal Mail to ensure there is a post box within half a mile of the premises of at least 98% of users of postal services. Royal Mail is also required to report annually to Ofcom the number of customer complaints received about the provision and/or location of post boxes.
Royal Mail has advised the Government that the post box in Stoke Village was situated on private land and Royal Mail had received a request from the landowner to remove it. Royal Mail is required to remove a post box if it has received such a request from the landowner.
In such circumstances, Royal Mail reviews the provision of postal services in the area to decide whether a post box should be reinstated elsewhere. Royal Mail advises that there are a number of post boxes in close proximity to the one which was removed and that one of these has been updated to a later collection post box.
Consequently, after taking into account all of the relevant factors, we understand that Royal Mail has taken the operational decision to not install a replacement post box.
Ofcom is carrying out a review of the future regulatory framework for post which it aims to complete in 2022. As part of this review, Ofcom will consider its approach to regulating the universal postal service and has sought views on the accessibility of the service, particularly for vulnerable people and those who may be more reliant on postal services. A call for inputs was launched on 11 March 2021 and closed on 20 May 2021. Ofcom intends to publish a full consultation on the future regulation of postal services later this year. More information about the regulatory regime can be found on Ofcom’s website www.ofcom.org.uk.