Gavin Strang MP has written to Stephen Byers MP, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, about measures to protect the future of the Post Office.
Speaking in his Edinburgh East & Musselburgh constituency today, Gavin Strang said:
‘I welcome the Government’s commitment to halt the run-down in the Post Office network which occurred under the Conservatives.
‘The Government has promised that the Post Office will develop in three areas.
1. ‘As a Universal Bank, to provide local banking services accessible for all. The Post Offices in my constituency say that this new bank is very important for securing the long term future of the network.
‘To set up the new bank, the government will need the high street banks to cooperate. But in July the British Bankers Association made a very negative statement about the bank.
‘I have asked Stephen Byers what progress has been made in establishing the Universal Bank.
‘We cannot allow the Universal Bank to be scuppered.
2. ‘Providing Internet access and enabling people to exploit e-commerce.
‘I believe that this will only work if there is someone actually available to sit with the client at the terminal and guide them through the necessary steps. People who are not used to this technology – including many elderly people – will need help if they are to benefit from the new facilities.
‘I have asked Stephen Byers if it would be possible to subsidise this assistance via the new sources of funding that the Labour Government has put in place for the Post Office.
3. ‘As General Government Practitioners, with an enhanced role in providing Government services, becoming one-stop shops for advice and information on government services.
‘I have asked Stephen Byers to set out the areas where he envisages further work could be transferred to Post Offices.
‘From the tiny village to the inner city, our local Post Offices play a vital social and economic role. It is vital that we ensure that this country has a thriving network of local post offices for the future.’