Ruffley slams Post Office 'not-work programme': 'Consultation a sham.'

Thursday, 27 March, 2008

David Ruffley MP, today commenting on Post Office closure plans in his constituency under the government's 'network change programme' said:

'This is a not-work programme, not a network programme. Six of my sub-Post Offices are marked for outright closure, two of them in Stowmarket- at Crown Street and at Combs Ford, which is bad news for Stowmarket. On top of that, skeletal or outreach services will only operate in the Gislingham and Wattisham areas, which are also earmarked for closure.

'The question people are asking me is: 'What is the point of writing in to complain during the Post Office consultation that will close on 2 June?'

'My constituents are right to be cynical so I asked the Post Office yesterday as to what factors in any of these closures could lead to a closure decision being overturned. The Post Office managers told me personally that the following factors might have been overlooked in their proposals and that the public were free to write in if they had concerns about these local factors:

'1. If in the area of a closure there was a very high number of elderly people who did not have access to transport in order to travel to a Post Office further away.

'2. Ninety five per cent of residents even after these closures are meant to be within 3 miles as the crow flies from their nearest open Post Office. But the Post Office said that if it was longer by road (rather than as the crow flies), this could be complained about.

'I am making this publicly available because it seems that the Post Office in this sham consultation is not making these grounds for challenging the closures available.

'I therefore urge my constituents who are worried about closures to write to:

Laura Tarling

Network Development Manager

C/o National Consultation Team

FREEPOST CONSULTATION TEAM

Email: consultation@postoffice.co.uk

Customer helpline: 08457 22 33 44

'I will be visiting two Post Offices on Friday 28 March in Crown Street and Combs Ford to show my solidarity with the public who want to keep their Post Offices open.'