Update on Post Office:Written statement - HCWS379

WS
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Made on: 20 December 2017
Made by: Margot James (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
Commons

Update on Post Office

The Government is announcing today that it is committing up to £370 million in new investment to the post office network for the three years from the start of April 2018 to the end of March 2021.

The post office network plays a vital role in communities, with post offices having the most positive impact on the local area of any type of shop, as found by The Association of Convenience Stores’ Local Shop Report 2017. At a time when our high streets are changing, the Government and Post Office are working to keep post offices on our high streets, supporting continued access to banking services through the Post Office’s Banking Framework whereby 99% of individuals and 95% of small businesses can access basic banking arrangements.

This new investment in the Post Office will further strengthen it for the future. Alongside today’s announcement the Government and Post Office have published three documents which evidence the progress that has been made in strengthening the Post Office:

  • Post Office’s annual report and accounts show that the financial performance of the Post Office continues to improve, with the company making a profit for the first time in 16 years;
  • The annual Network Report demonstrates that the number of post offices around the country continues to be at its most stable for decades, and in fact shows an increase in the number of branches for the second year running. The report shows that 93% of the population live within 1 mile of a Post Office, and almost 99% of the rural population live within 3 miles;
  • Government’s response to the public consultation confirms our manifesto commitment to securing the network, maintaining the current Access Criteria to ensure that there remains a widespread and comprehensive distribution of branches around the country.

Furthermore, the Government’s £2bn investment in the Post Office since 2010 has led to over seven and a half thousand branches being transformed and modernised, bringing almost a million extra opening hours per month for customers, with 4,400 branches open on a Sunday.

The next three years will see new technology being rolled out into branches, and Post Office will be innovating its existing products and launching new ones too. The Post Office’s digital presence will be strengthened and its online presence will be better integrated with its branches.

The steps the Government and the Post Office’s staff and leadership have taken in recent years have strengthened the business and helped to make the network more commercially sustainable, reducing its reliance on taxpayer support and the long term need for Government funding. This new funding gives the Post Office the security to plan a vibrant long-term future for the network.

This statement has also been made in the House of Lords: HLWS373

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