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14 December 2006

Barrett launches use-it-or-lose-it campaign after Government unviels latest Post Office closures

John Barrett, Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West, today launched a use-it-or-lose-it Post Offices campaign across West Edinburgh, encouraging local people to support their local post office after the Government announced plans for a new wave of closures.

In recent weeks Mr Barrett has met with the Post Offices Minister Jim Fitzpatrick to discuss the Governments proposals and the impact in Scotland.

Mr Barrett, also accused Tony Blair of undermining the long-term future of the post office network in an exchange during Prime Ministers question time last week.

John Barrett said:

“Some of the measures announced today are welcome, particular the decision to retain the post office card account after a long campaign by the Liberal Democrats and others. However, they do not address the root cause of the problem which is the systematic removal of essential profit-making services from local Post Offices.

“When I quizzed the Prime Minister on this issue at Prime Ministers Questions last week he claimed his Government are investing in the future of the Post Offices. In reality, they are removing services and undermining the long-term viability of the entire network.

“Instead of removing profitable services, the Government should be instead thinking creatively and investing in new products to be delivered through the Post Office network. Unfortunately, today’s statement does not do nearly enough.

“At this time of year, post offices are at their busiest. However, it is a sad fact that decisions by this Government are making it more and more likely that for many post offices, this Christmas will be their last.

"Since I was elected in 2001 over 20 Edinburgh based post offices have closed. It is high time this Government woke-up to the importance of the Post Office network, not only in economic terms, but also for its vital community role. I have made it very clear to Government Minister that Post Offices in my constituency act as a focal point for local communities. It is unacceptable that this Government seems content to see the network wither on the vine.

“If the Government is not prepared to give the necessary help to Post Offices then it will fall to members of the public to take the lead. I am today launching a ‘use-it or lose-it’ campaign encouraging people to use their local post offices and show Tony Blair that Post Offices are as important and relevant today as they have ever been.”

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This website was established while I was a Member of Parliament. The site content is being kept online as a source of information, but all forms / email have been disabled.