Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/548/6411
No to post office closures
PLANS TO close nine sub-post offices, vital local services, across the Huddersfield/ Colne Valley area are a hammer blow to these communities. 50 people came to a public meeting last month, called by Save Our NHS councillor Jackie Grunsell, to launch a campaign to keep them open.
Huddersfield Socialist Party members
One woman said her illness makes it difficult for her to get even down the road to her post office. Fortunately the local postmistress drops off and picks up forms for her if necessary.
Imran, another local postmaster explained he has Punjabi, Urdu and Polish speakers on the counter, who as part of the community they serve, can interpret and help non-English speakers fill in forms etc.
"Staff at town centre offices just don't have that kind of time for people," he said. "They are constantly pressured to try and sell customers insurance or get them to take out credit cards etc."
The government talks about wanting to build strong local communities, cut our carbon footprint and use local services, but this policy is destroying our communities.
The meeting discussed plans to lobby local MPs (Kali Mountford and Barry Sheerman) who hypocritically told the press they would fight the closures, yet voted for them earlier in parliament. Everyone sees the consultation process as a sham.
However this summer, Kirklees council passed a motion proposed by Jackie, arguing that the council should make its own assessment of local post offices with a view to reopening them as council-run services. The campaign intends to keep up the pressure on the council cabinet to make this hope a reality.
The campaign has since moved up a gear. Regular door knocking with petitions has been met with huge support for the campaign and disbelief at the closure plans.
A recent public meeting in Holmfirth was addressed by local MP Kali Mountford. She was only interested in fighting for two of the five threatened post offices in her constituency as she wanted to see a post office network that 'worked better'.
Tell that to the people of Thornton Lodge where the post office she is so happy to abandon, provides vital translation services to non-English speaking members of the local Pakistani and Kashmiri communities. But Kali was nowhere to be seen in that part of her constituency!
A protest is planned for Tuesday 23 September, 10am, outside Lockwood Post Office, Lockwood Road, Huddersfield.
We want to show Post Office Ltd how much local people value their post offices, and our MPs that we are prepared to fight to save them even if they aren't.
In The Socialist 17 September 2008:
Socialist Party editorial
Socialist Party campaigns
Labour Party conference protest
Privatisation and closure
Socialist Party feature
Socialist Party workplace news
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party review