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High Street Postal Services

Volume 741: debated on Thursday 30 November 2023

The Government protect the post office branch network by setting access criteria and minimum service levels to be provided by branches across the country. More post offices have opened this year than have closed. The network is as large today as it has been for five years, with around 11,700 branches open, above the 11,500 target that we set for the Post Office.

The Minister mentioned that more post offices are opening. Actually, they are closing. The Clapham Common post office in my Vauxhall constituency has been earmarked for closure and there are no current plans to replace it. I am fighting this closure, along with my hon. Friend the Member for Streatham (Bell Ribeiro-Addy) and local ward councillors in the Communications Workers Union. This is a pattern that we are seeing across the country. It has been identified that 260 postal shopfronts have closed across the country in the past 10 years. With those closures, we are seeing elderly and vulnerable people—people who need their post offices on the high street—having to travel further. Will the Minister tell me what more he and the Government are doing to protect these vital services?

The hon. Member is absolutely right to raise this issue. The Post Office has launched a public consultation regarding the Clapham Common post office. The Post Office maintains that locals will continue to have good access to services. There is a post office within a mile of the Clapham Road branch, and three further branches within two miles. Nevertheless, the Government support the post office network with a significant amount of financial support—£2.5 billion over the past 10 years—so we do continue to support post offices. We know how important they are to constituents and other colleagues in this House. I am very happy to meet her to discuss this particular case.