Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/557/6620
The Socialist 19 November 2008 |
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Stroud post office saved!
Stroud campaign saves Uplands Post Office, photo Chris Moore
POST OFFICE campaigners in Stroud, Gloucestershire were celebrating the reopening of Uplands post office, despite the best efforts of the government and Post Office Ltd to close it.
Chris Moore, Gloucestershire Save Our Post Offices
A few months ago Uplands was closed along with six other local post offices and 26 in Gloucestershire, as part of the cost cutting exercise to close 2,500 nationally. This was despite Royal Mail, the parent company of Post Office Ltd, making £233 million profit in 2006 and paying its directors £4.5 million in bonuses on top of their £2.5 million salaries. Uplands is only the second post office in the country to win a reprieve, thanks to a heroic local campaign and Stroud town council pumping in £25,000 over the next two years.
A High Court injunction upheld that Mary Davies, a 74-year-old disabled person, would be discriminated against because of the difficulties she would face getting to another post office.
Mary explains: "They call me metal Mickey because of my two artificial knees and plates in my wrists and feet. I've got osteoporosis, asthma, angina, arthritis and brittle bones, I can't even stand let alone walk into town".
Post Office Ltd was forced to enter talks with the town council and sub postmaster, but the process has been tortuous.
As Stroud's independent deputy mayor Andy Reid explained: "Every time we won an argument with Post Office Ltd, the question was changed. People told us closure was a foregone conclusion. But this proves that if you believe in something you must never give in. The value of a post office to a community cannot be calculated on a purely profit-and-loss basis".