Trade and Industry Press Notice No 47 131004

TRADE AND INDUSTRY COMMITTEE

  COMMITTEE OFFICE     HOUSE OF COMMONS   
7 MILLBANK     LONDON SW1P 3JA

Telephone: 020 7219 5777/5778

PN 47 of Session 2003-04

PRESS NOTICE

NEW INQUIRY

The Crown Post Office Network

The Trade and Industry Committee is today launching an inquiry into the future of the Crown Post Offices.

During its inquiry into the programme of closures of urban sub-post offices, the Committee discovered, to its surprise, that Post Office Ltd was undertaking a separate review at a different pace into the network of directly managed post office branches, the Crown Offices. The Committee raised questions about the wisdom of such a separate review, given that in many instances sub-post offices have been closed on the assumption that their customers could instead use the local Crown Office. The Committee stated at the time that it would look into the Post Office's plans for the Crown Offices in due course.

Although Post Office Ltd has made no announcement about the completion of its review, press reports indicate that a number of Crown Offices are already threatened with closure.

Among the issues to be addressed by the Committee are:

· The reasons for the financial losses made by the Crown Offices;

· How Post Office Ltd has approached its review of the Crown Office network, whether it wishes to reduce the network by a specific number of offices, how it judges the need for and viability of individual offices;

· Co-ordination of this review with the Urban Reinvention programme for sub-post offices;

· Conduct of public consultation during the review, and the role and effectiveness of Postwatch; and

· The role of Government as both sole shareholder in Post Office Ltd and as a major user of the post office network to deliver key Government services throughout the UK.

The Committee would welcome written evidence on these or any other related issues by Wednesday 3  November 2004.  Details of any oral evidence will be announced shortly after that date. If possible, written evidence should take the form of a memorandum with numbered paragraphs and should be submitted, as a MS Word document, by e-mail to [email protected] with a single hard copy sent to the Clerk at the address above.

For further information please contact the Committee Office on 020 7219 5777/ 5778.

13 October 2004

ENDS