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29 November 2005

Barrett questions future of Postwatch following damning new report

John Barrett, Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West, today called on the Government to consider abolishing Postwatch, the postal service consumer watchdog.

Mr Barrett made the call following today’s publication of a report by the Public Accounts Committee which concluded that:

· The cost of Postwatch has increased by 21% since its creation in 2000, to £10.3million in 2003-04.

· Only 72% of consumers are satisfied with how Postwatch has handled their complaint.

· Postwatch is unable to say whether those who suffer poor service are more likely to be socially or economically disadvantaged.

· It is not sufficient for Postwatch to rely on complaints as a way of understanding what concerns consumers.

Commenting on the report, Mr Barrett said:

“When the most profitable and busy post office in my constituency at the Gyle shopping centre was set to close, Postwatch received the full backing of business, customers, disabled groups, the local community in opposing this closure yet it still closed.

“Many people expect Postwatch to be the champions of the community, yet under the present system their views can simply be ignored.

“Following this damning report it is time to consider if this quango should go. At the very least it requires radical reform. Postwatch should either be given the power to be more effective and deliver real benefits for consumers, or if not, it must be time to consider winding it up.”

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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.