Today, SNP MP Marion Fellows has called on the UK Government to continue providing public subsidy to Post Office Ltd after figures reveal Scotland is still being hit hardest by the Postmaster crisis.
Pre-Covid Post Office figures show that as of 31 March, Scotland had the highest number of temporarily closed Post Offices in the UK with 161.
This is a 17% increase since 2019 when Scotland also had the highest number of temporarily closed branches.
Speaking at Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy questions, Mrs Fellows called on the UK Government to maintain or increase the UK Government’s subsidy of Post Office Ltd to prevent Sub-Postmasters handing in their keys leaving more communities without vital Post Office services.
Post Office Ltd will receive a subsidy of £50m in 2020/21 to keep less profitable branches open. Ministers say that the continuation of the subsidy will be considered as part of the 2020 Spending Review.
Commenting, Mrs Fellows said:
“Communities across Scotland and the rest of the UK are losing access to Post Offices’ vital services as more Sub-Postmasters hand in their keys. The UK Government must take the Post Office off the pathway to privatisation and maintain or increase the public subsidy.
“During the Covid-19 pandemic, Sub-Postmasters have proven just how essential they are to communities. But many are resigning creating a Postmaster crisis. They must be supported.
“Scotland is being hit hardest by the Postmaster crisis. This means communities in Scotland – which are some of the most rural – are finding it the hardest to access postal, banking and government services.
“As well as maintaining the subsidy, the UK Government needs to quickly develop a long term and sustainable strategy for the Post Office where branches can be banking and government service hubs.”