Post Office branches are the backbone of local communities and the services they provide on the high street and in shopping centres are crucial to both businesses and the community.
However, since 2015 more than 230 bank branches in Scotland have been shut or marked for closure and research suggests that local branches are closing faster in Scotland than any other part of the UK. This means that people are even more reliant on Post Offices for banking services. However, it is proving cost ineffective for sub-Postmasters.
By providing remuneration on a commission only basis, whilst being open the exact same hours as their retail businesses, it is simply not fair for the UK government minister to say that ‘remuneration now reflects the time and cost-savings to Postmasters’.
This is on top of the already difficult environment in which Post Office workers are operating due to pay cuts. Whilst profits rose to £35 million, 11,500 Post Office workers faced a combined £17m pay cut. That is simply unacceptable.
As the special shareholder, it is the UK government’s duty to meet its responsibilities to the Post Office, sub-Postmasters and the public. It is not feasible to allow such valued community assets to decline so that profits can increase off the back of workers. There must be action.