District Council backs 'vital' rural post offices

This article is 18 years old


Published on 25 September 2006
Archived on 25 October 2006

Stratford-on-Avon District Council is throwing its weight behind a campaign to keep a government subsidy that supports rural post offices and prevents many of them from closing.  

The government gives £150m a year to help 8,000 rural post offices to stay open. The subsidy runs out in March 2008 and ministers will decide this autumn whether to extend it. The District Council is joining other rural authorities in backing an Age Concern campaign urging them to do so.  

Speaking after attending meetings of the LGA Rural Commission and Rural Conference in Chester, Cllr Trevor Russel (Con. Shipston), the Council's Deputy Leader, said "Post offices provide a vital service to rural communities, especially older people - including an important social role - and many will struggle to survive if the government withdraws its subsidy.  

"The government has already dealt them a heavy blow by withdrawing services such as motor vehicle licences, TV licences and planning applications. Removing the rural subsidy will be the final nail in the coffin for many post offices.  

Cllr Russel added, "Rural services are under constant threat - for example, garages are closing at an alarming rate. Any withdrawal of any service reduces choice for rural residents, many of whom are seriously disadvantaged already by lack of access to existing services and facilities, both public and private.  We know the government is looking to make cuts in its spending from 2007 onwards.  

"A top civil servant from DEFRA dropped a strong hint to us in Chester that spending in the rural areas - including the subsidy to post offices - is under pressure and threat, and said that we have to provide 'evidence of value' for existing rural spending programmes.  

"The District Council is fully supporting other rural authorities and organisations in pressing to ensure that rural services are not sacrificed so that ministers can protect, even increase spending in the urban areas."

Contact details

Stratford-on-Avon District Council
Elizabeth House, Church Street,
Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire,
CV37 6HX
Tel: 01789 267575

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