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19 April 2012
An Early Day Motion (EDM 2841) calling for a halt to the downgrading of some 2,000 post offices has now been signed by 101 MPs.
CWU general secretary Billy Hayes said: "This is a remarkable level of support, considering the EDM was only tabled a few weeks ago. It clearly shows the level of concern about the new 'Locals' model.
"And it's great to see the range of support too - MPs from an array of political parties have put their names to the growing chorus of opposition to these proposals," he added.
Plans to remove dedicated counters and merge post office business with regular retail transactions - an initiative called 'Locals' by Post Office chiefs - have been slammed by consumers and postmasters alike, and a broad coalition of opposition is demanding a halt.
"The CWU, the Countryside Alliance, Federation of Small Businesses and many other voluntary organisations are united in supporting this EDM, which urges a radical rethink," explained CWU assistant secretary Andy Furey.
"At a time when Post Office has been granted extra state aid through the EU, it should be investing in growth - not wasting money on managed decline."
EDM 2841 was tabled by Labour MP Katy Clark and reads:
'That this House recognises the vital role the Post Office plays throughout the country, supporting businesses and communities and providing access to a wide range of services; notes that Post Office Ltd is planning to convert over 50 per cent. of its branch network to new operating models over three years from April 2012, with 2,000 branches to be converted to the new Locals operating model; further notes that Consumer Focus has described this restructuring as being `as significant, if not more challenging, than previous restructure exercises'; further notes that there are concerns among businesses and local communities over the smaller range of services which will be available at Locals, over caps being applied to benefit payments and parcels services in Locals and over the number of existing sub-post offices which may close as a result of the proposals; expresses its concern that Post Office Ltd has not yet fully trialled the Locals model in converted post offices and that there is limited opportunity for public engagement; and calls for Post Office Ltd to impose a moratorium on the proposed rollout of the Locals model until it has carried out a full national consultation on this.'