Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/488/2437
Darling attacks Post Offices
GOVERNMENT MINISTER Alistair Darling confirmed the closure, last week, of a further 2,500 post offices out of the current network of 14,000. Ignoring the views of four million people who signed a petition opposing these closures, Darling complained that the network is losing too much money. A government grant of £150 million to protect the network expires in 2008.
However, the main reason for these losses is that the government has ended a number of key revenue-generating contracts, including the TV licence service. And by 2010 the government also plans to scrap the post office card account - which millions of people use to access pensions and other benefits.
Since 1999, 4,000 post offices have been shut and not only in rural areas. The number of post offices in urban areas has been slashed by one-third in this period. After previous closures the government reassured the public that everyone would have access to a post office within a mile's distance. Now they say it will be three miles (95% coverage in rural areas).
If the government is so concerned about 'subsidising' public services perhaps they should consider ending the public-sector Private Finance Initiative schemes, which involve handing over large sums from the public purse in order to guarantee profits for big business.
In The Socialist 24 May 2007:
Labour Party leadership
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Socialist Party news and analysis
Marxist analysis: history
Environment and socialism