Friday, May 18, 2007

Labour destroying Post Offices


Labour was accused yesterday of masterminding the "near certain death of the village post office."

In a bitter blow, it confirmed plans to close down 2,500 post offices over the next 18 months.

It is the numerical equivalent of shutting down every single branch of Tesco, Waitrose and B&Q combined.

By the end of next year, nearly 40 per cent of all post offices open when Labour came to power will have been axed.

In 1997, there were just over 19,000. By the end of this closure programme, there will be about 11,800.

The closures will be devastating for villages where the post office is often the last remaining shop.

More than half of post offices are in rural locations, typically contained within a newsagent or small food shop.

The main Government business which has gone is the payment of pensions, child benefit, the renewal of TV licences and the E111 health insurance documents.

Where pensions were previously collected at post offices, they are now paid directly into bank accounts.

Maybe it’s time to do something else with Post offices. Even if it isn’t profitable in rural communities we should keep them open. Community welfare will always be more important than profits.

I don’t know much about the issue but it seems to me that what is killing the Post Office is competition, especially from banks. There have been a lot of complaints about banks lately, about them conning customers and over charging them for different things. Why can’t the Post Office double as a bank? People will have more choice. The Post Office will give fairer deals and the banks will have to respond to this new competition by slashing their rates and becoming fairer. If not the Post Office would become the dominant bank especially if it had branches in rural communities where banks don’t generally locate. You then solve two problems with one solution.

Like I said I don’t know much about this issue. Does anyone have any criticisms?

15 comments:

Rastaman said...

Do what we do here in the US. Raise the rates to compensate for the loss of business to the Internet. Our postal rates just went up another 2 cents. Not much but it keeps the postal service going.

Rastaman

youdontknowme said...

We already do that.

Bag said...

I thought the PO had a bank link via Giro or something. It's been a while. I think the problem was you needed to give a bit of notice to withdraw money.

The real problem with Post offices in rural areas is that they never made money they were subsidised by the government. So in a way that's market forces for you. You can't have it both ways. People didn't go out of their way to use to POs to keep them viable and now they are closing. Why should I subsidise a PO in lower boring that I don't use? Isn't it just another stealth tax?

The bit that makes me laugh is that I pay through the nose for lots of things I don't use. The things I do use are now being looked at seperatly and I have to pay extra because 'you should pay for what you use'.

youdontknowme said...

People pay taxes all the time. These taxes go towards the needy. When was the last time you went to school. Should you pay less tax because you don't go to school so you aren't using schools anymore?

Bag said...

I do pay for school. Twice thanks. The needy don't need a post office by their door. I don't see one up our street and I have to travel to get one.

In the olden days milk was delivered to your door but it cost more than from the local supermarket. So the milk delivery died. Should we subsidise that as well? The needy need milk more than they need post offices. The list goes on. I draw the line before the post offices you choose after. Sadly I seem to be with the government on this one. That alone is making me consider and wonder what I have missed.

youdontknowme said...

"So the milk delivery died. Should we subsidise that as well? The needy need milk more than they need post offices."

Is the local milk float the heart of the community in rural areas like the post office is?

Bag said...

If the PO was the heart of the community then it would not need a subsidy as people would buy enough from there to keep it afloat. Many POs are walled off areas in local shops. The locals see they can get the bread and milk cheaper and don't care so why should I.

Like I said we all draw the line in different places. Some things need to be paid for centrally. I just don't see POs being one of those things. Nobody needs a village PO. Why don't we pay Tesco to set up a local PO and then it can stock it with cheap milk, bread etc. The real necessities.

youdontknowme said...

If the PO was the heart of the community then it would not need a subsidy as people would buy enough from there to keep it afloat.

According to the link in the blog post it is the heart of some rural communities.

Rural communities don't tend to have a lot of people living in them. They might actually be popular but they are still unable to make a profit because of the amount of people living in those villages.


Nobody needs a village PO. Why don't we pay Tesco to set up a local PO and then it can stock it with cheap milk, bread etc. The real necessities.

What about the elderly and infirm? Don't they need a post office in their community? What about those without cars? Are we going to make cars a necessity for those living in rural communities?

Tesco won't open stores in rural communities for the same reason stated above - there aren't enough people living in rural communities.

Bag said...

Good points.

However, I don't believe the PO is the heart I believe the heart of a village is the pub. Using this logic we need to subsidise cheap ale for all those in villages and open more pubs in obscure villages. Yay!

How do old, infirm and those with out cars get all the stuff they can't get in a local PO? Plus am I responsible for all those that chose to live in out of the way places with no facilities and subsidise their choices. I'm told I have to pay for my life choices why not them?

I'm looking at buying some land in North Wales. When I have done so I will contact Tescos, RM, BT and the NHS so they can build something close because not only do I want something out of the way of the rabble I also want to be kept at the same level of service I am now. Oh and a pub. Sorry forgot about that. Subsidised champers. Looking forward to that.

To me a PO is just like any other facility. It is not critical to life and does not need a subsidy. Subsidies are already paid to deliver letters etc. to obscure out of the way places by us already. Why do you think some carriers charge extra for remote locations. They are not subsidised.

youdontknowme said...

However, I don't believe the PO is the heart I believe the heart of a village is the pub. Using this logic we need to subsidise cheap ale for all those in villages and open more pubs in obscure villages. Yay!

Only thing wrong with that logic is no one is closing down pubs and no one has said that pubs are the heart of the vilage community.



How do old, infirm and those with out cars get all the stuff they can't get in a local PO? Plus am I responsible for all those that chose to live in out of the way places with no facilities and subsidise their choices. I'm told I have to pay for my life choices why not them?

So we should expect those that have lived all their lives in a village to move just because we can't be arsed helping those in need?


It is not critical to life and does not need a subsidy.

Just because it isn't critical to life doesn't mean it isn't critical to quality of life.

Bag said...

I see we are going in circles.

'Only thing wrong with that logic is no one is closing down pubs and no one has said that pubs are the heart of the vilage community.'

I just did in my last post. They are closing down where they are non profitable. There have been two closed in my local area of the last few years because they clientele changed.

'So we should expect those that have lived all their lives in a village to move just because we can't be arsed helping those in need?'

We do this all the time. Many people move to homes when they can no longer look after themselves and their family and friends wont. We don't built homes near them do we? But let's not forget we are talking about POs here. Nobody needs to move because they don't have a PO within a couple of miles.

'Just because it isn't critical to life doesn't mean it isn't critical to quality of life.'

How does having a PO near to you increase your quality of life? It might increase your free time or lower your dependence on others but I don't see having to visit a PO every few months a crisis in life. Almost everything a village PO does can be done elsewhere.

There are millions of OAPs, in cities as well as villages, who have to get necessities. There are advantages and disadvantages in all our choices. They chose a village life. That has it's disadvantages.

youdontknowme said...

I just did in my last post. They are closing down where they are non profitable. There have been two closed in my local area of the last few years because they clientele changed.

But you still have access to one nearby right?


How does having a PO near to you increase your quality of life?

It does for the elderly and infirm.


There are millions of OAPs, in cities as well as villages, who have to get necessities.

And these people that live in cities are able to get neccessities because they live near them. Rural areas don't have banks and they very rarely have supermarkets.

Bag said...

'But you still have access to one nearby right?'

Exactly because they are the heart of the community and they get supported.

'It does for the elderly and infirm.'

That is basically what you said before. I ask again how does having a PO near to you increase your quality of life even for the elderly and infirm?

'Rural areas don't have banks and they very rarely have supermarkets.'

Exactly my point. So why should they have POs funded by us who live in areas specifically to get these sort of facilities? This is what I meant by advantages, quiet, stress free and good loyal neighbours, and disadvantages, lack of local amenities, reliance on transport and/or others.

youdontknowme said...

That is basically what you said before. I ask again how does having a PO near to you increase your quality of life even for the elderly and infirm?

Well seeing as the elderly and infirm can't walk far I would have thought that was obvious.

If they need to they can go there daily. When it's out of the way they either have to be more car reliant or get public transport which is terrible in this country. It's not going to do their health very good is it? Ever heard of meals on wheels? They go to the infirm and elderly because those people are unable to do the basic things like shopping that you and me take for granted.

Anyway it doesnt like you and me are going to agree on this.

Bag said...

'Well seeing as the elderly and infirm can't walk far I would have thought that was obvious.'

I don't consider that having a local PO that you can walk too improves your quality of life. Giving them more money to buy better food and let them heat their homes would give them a quality boost.

'Anyway it doesnt like you and me are going to agree on this.'

I think you may be right. As I said though. It's where you draw the line. With local POs we just draw it in different places. I'm sure there will be others.