South Yorkshire MP urges ministers to safeguard post offices amid threat of closures

Michael Dugher, Barnsley East MP, has called on the Government to safeguard the future of local post offices.

The move comes as fears grow that post offices across Yorkshire could be forced to shut due to falling incomes.

Barnsley had already seen the closure of Wombwell Post Office earlier this year, although a post office counter has opened inside the Heron Foods shop on the High Street.

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In April, the Post Office announced plans to move around 60 branches across the country into WH Smith stores and shed up to 2,000 jobs.

Mr Dugher warned that the Post Office was now at a “crisis point” and called for Government action. 

He has signed a Commons motion that demands that the Government develops a “strategy to safeguard the future of the Post Office as a matter of urgency”.

Mr Dugher’s intervention came as managers at Crown Post Offices voted for further strike action on Saturday (December 3) in their continuing dispute over job losses, branch closures and pension changes.

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Unions have said the action at Crown Post Offices, which are the larger branches that are usually located in High Streets, could disrupt Christmas mail.

Commenting, Mr Dugher said: “Whilst there is no immediate closure threat to our local post offices in Barnsley, the post office network is at crisis point over its future.

“We have already seen many local bank branches close down and I fear some post offices face a similar fate, unless the Government takes urgent action to safeguard them.

“Ministers must come up with a robust strategy to help get post offices on a sound financial footing and help them grow their income if this cherished part of our community is to survive.

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“The Government should look at establishing a Post Office Bank to develop the financial services post offices already offer.  That could  help fill the gap left by the closure of so many bank branches.”