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One in 5 major Post Offices to be run from Counters in high street shops

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One in 5 major Post Offices to be run from Counters in high street shops

Post  Panda on Fri 8 Feb - 8:07

One in five major Post Offices to be run from counters in high street

The Post Office is planning to close one in five of its major high street
branches and open them as counters in local shops instead, it emerged today.

It took the decision as the
organisation is losing around £40 million per year. Photo: ALAMY

By Rowena Mason, Political

3:43PM GMT 07 Feb 2013

Critics warned that services for its millions of customers could suffer, as
the Government-owned network said it wants 70 out of its 373 Crown post offices
to re-open in private stores.

The Post Office said it needed to close the branches and re-open them in
stores such as WH Smith, Co-op and Budgens because it is losing around £40
million per year.

But a spokesman promised that a full range of services, which range from
dealing with passport applications to handing out pension payments, would still
be on offer. She said none of the branches would disappear from their current
locations, even if no new operators can be found.

However, Billy Hayes, general secretary of the Communications Workers union,
described the move as a "partial destruction" of the Crown post office network.

"This move will have a huge impact on the high streets of small towns
earmarked to lose their Crown post office," he said. "These offices provide a
dedicated specialist service to communities which will not be replicated by a
window or two in a bigger shop.

"It leaves huge questions about the future of the Post Office - how can it
realistically deliver services for passport applications, identity services and
a range of financial services while being dramatically pruned back? What does it
mean for Metropolitan Police plans to move into London post offices?"

Many of the Post Office's 11,500-strong network of smaller local branches
have moved into shops and garages already. MPs warned earlier this year that
re-opening post offices in smaller locations could lead to a “lack of privacy”
for customers. Post offices deal with a range of sensitive financial
transactions, including handing out benefits, allowing people to pay their
council tax and banking services.

Despite the fears that customers could lose out, Robert Hammond of the
watchdog Consumer Focus said the changes appear to be necessary to make the Post
Office "sustainable".

He said making sure services are of a high quality and accessible is "more
important than the issue of who operates the post office itself".

I said this was coming a while ago, "searched" but couldn't find the post. The Internet has done irreparable damage to Society when you think about it .
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