MP Derek Thomas says he is delighted with the “fantastic” response from West Cornwall residents to the Save Our Post Offices campaign he has initiated.
Mr Thomas, who is a member of a new parliamentary group set up to support post offices around the country, launched the campaign following the threat of permanent or temporary closure of a number of post offices in his constituency - on the Lizard, at Porthleven, Carbis Bay, Leedstown, Heamoor, St Keverne and Newlyn.
In these communities, householders have been asked to sign the ‘Save Our Post Offices’ campaign which calls on Post Office Ltd and the Government to commit to making sure sub-postmasters in rural areas have a viable business.
It also calls on the Government to force banks to pay sub-postmasters a fair price for their services and, together with Post Office Ltd, to increase the range of services available in rural branches.
“Since the campaign was launched, we’ve received hundreds of responses to strengthen my argument in Parliament which is fantastic - but I hope that as many people as possible take the time to sign up to the campaign,” said Mr Thomas.
“Post offices are the lifeblood of local communities, especially at a time when many high street banks are closing, but too many post-masters are finding they are unable to make their business viable.
“Resolving these challenges is a priority for me and earlier this year I successfully lobbied for an extra £160 million of funding for village community branches; last week I discussed the situation with the Federation of Sub-Postmasters and early next month I am meeting the Post Office Minister (Kelly Tolhurst MP) to press for more Government support.
“I believe we need a change in legislation so that bespoke packages can be created to ensure post offices are viable in rural communities all year round.”
Mr Thomas also countered the remarks of his predecessor, Andrew George, who has claimed that the current situation has been brought about by the Conservative party.
“Vince Cable was the Business Secretary who oversaw the passage of the Postal Services Act 2011 which enabled the Government to sell shares in Royal Mail to private investors and separated the Post Office business from Royal Mail,” Mr Thomas added.
“Mr George voted in favour of these changes but seems happy to blame other people for the problems he helped to create.”