Public consultations have begun on plans to close 2,500 post offices across the UK.
Around four post offices will close in every parliamentary constituency by the end of next year.
However, 500 will be replaced by ‘outreach’ services such as part-time services from a van or from within a local facility such as a village hall.
The first phase of consultations begin today on plans to close 180 post offices in Kent, East Midlands, and East Yorkshire. Another 35 post offices in these areas will be replaced by ‘outreach’ services.
Industry watchdog Postwatch has described the cuts as a period of huge change in the post office network.
Its chair, Millie Banerjee CBE, said: ‘Closures are not good news for customers, but the current post office network is unsustainable. The government has decided change is necessary, with 2,500 closures required. Postwatch agrees it is preferable to have planned rather than unplanned closures.’
She added: ‘It is now vital that the programme’s overall outcome is the best possible for customers. That means customer confusion and inconvenience must be minimised, both in terms of the branches proposed for closure, and in the consultation process being meaningful and accessible to all.’
The post office network lost £200 million in 2006-07 and more than eight out of every ten of the 7,700 rural post office branches make a loss.
Post Office Managing Director Alan Cook said: ‘Taking the decision to close any post office branch is always very difficult and we know will cause concern to many of our customers.
‘We want to ensure that everyone who uses, relies on or has any concern with Post Office services is both fully aware of the changes we are proposing to meet government requirements and able to give views on how accessible services will be in the future.’
You can find out more about the consultation and when you’ll be able to submit views on any local closures by going to the Post office website.