Brighton Greens lead fight to keep post public on eve of parliament vote

17 January 2011

Local postal services will suffer if Government plans to privatise the Royal Mail go ahead, warns Caroline Lucas MP today.

In amendments to the crucial Postal Services Bill, which MPs will vote on tomorrow, Caroline calls on the Government to recognise the vital role that Post Offices play in communities and to remove proposals for privatisation of the Royal Mail.

The Bill could have serious consequences for Post Offices, because it does not provide any guarantees that the current inter-business agreement with Royal Mail will continue.

The MP also proposes the creation of a formal relationship between Post Offices and credit unions, in order to increase awareness of, and access to, affordable credit.

Caroline said: "The coalition Government's reckless plans to sell off our 400-year-old Royal Mail are likely to completely undermine the Post Office network.

"Many older people, families and other vulnerable members of the community, as well as small businesses, rely on their local Post Office as a way of making contact with others and accessing key services.

"According to the Communications Workers Union, over 1,000 UK Post Offices were either closed or put up for sale in 2010. In Brighton, local closures and relocations are already leaving hundreds without adequate access to this vital public service."

Brighton Green councillor for St Peter's & North Laine Pete West added: "Just this week it was announced that the Post Office is planning to close and relocate a key branch in our ward. The new location is less accessible, cramped, and will leave a sizeable area of Brighton city centre without a Post Office.

"Green ward councillors are informing residents and setting up a meeting between the Post Office, the local authority, and elected representatives to secure this service."

Caroline concluded: "Thanks to former business secretary Peter Mandelson's efforts, it was the Labour Government that got the ball rolling on liberalising the UK's postal services. Now the Tories are following suit, selling off key public goods and services to the highest bidder.

"The Greens are the only party to consistently fight against postal privatisation at every level."


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