March 9 2014 Latest news:
Friday, January 31, 2014
No more post office closures for five years – that was the pledge from Post Office chief executive Paula Vennells this morning, as she outlined her vision for the future of the business.
Speaking on Radio 4’s Today programme, she said “a new model” for post offices was needed, but insisted she was putting a focus on protecting rural and community branches.
Asked about the government subsidy for the Post Office, she said: “The money that the government has given us is now an investment. The really good news about that is that the 11,800 post offices we have today will stay, and hopefully at some stage we may even have more.”
She said the closure of 2,500 branches when she first took the post was “the worst job I have had in my life”, and admitted the loss of branches had “decimated communities”.
Ms Vennells pointed to a new model including post offices being housed in convenience shops, and said there were growth areas for branches, such as online parcels click-and-collect services and new Post Office banking services.
She said: “ The Post Office needs to survive commercially as well as socially. The whole point of the investment programme is to make sure that we have models that are commercially sustainable.”
What do you think? How can rural and community post offices adapt to survive? Have people’s habits changed or does the demand still exist for a post office in every village? Sign in and leave your comments below.