SNP MP calls for action as branches close while Post Office profits soar

Communities “face crisis” due to UK Government’s drive to maximise profits, says SNP small business spokesperson

POSTMASTERS resigning due to cuts in pay are behind a majority of temporary Post Office closures, despite soaring profits over the same period, the SNP’s small business spokesperson has argued in a new call for greater investment.

SNP MP Marion Fellows today told UK Government ministers that they must intervene to prevent cuts to postmaster – the heads of individual post branch offices - pay, which have led to hundreds of branch closures across the country.

Fellows has cited figures from the National Federation of Sub-Postmasters, which show that between March and August of this year, 66 per cent of the 425 closures of Post Offices in the UK were due to a wave of postmaster resignations, which Fellows attributes to poor pay.

This year, payment for postmasters and sub-postmasters was cut by £17m, following a £27m cut last year. Over the same period, Post Office profits have increased from £13m to £35m. Post Office Chief Executive Paula Vennells has seen her salary increase by 7 per cent to £718,000, on top of her 8.4 per cent increase last year.

“Our hardworking Postmasters are subsidising corporate profits and executive pay packets while hundreds of branches across the UK are closing.” SNP small business spokesperson Marion Fellows

Commenting, Mrs Fellows said: “Our hardworking Postmasters are subsidising corporate profits and executive pay packets while hundreds of branches across the UK are closing because those running them are underpaid and undervalued.

“Communities are facing a crisis caused by the Post Office maximising profits at the expense of Postmasters and the UK Government’s poor governance. Postmasters cannot continue to go on while rates are cuts and services removed. Postmasters and communities need the UK Government to intervene and ensure proper remuneration.

Fellows continued: “For many people, the Post Office is a lifeline. It is used by people collecting social security payments and pensions and also increasingly by businesses. It needs investment and support, not managed decline.

READ MORE: Royal mail workers vote overwhelmingly for strike action

“UK Government Ministers say they support the Post Office network and I’ll be meeting with them soon to find out exactly how they plan to do it.”

Fellows intervention comes in the wake of increased scrutiny on the Royal Mail, the share price of which fell last month, wiping 30 per cent off its share value and raising the possibility of further job cuts and price increases on stamps.

Five years after David Cameron’s Coalition government privatised the Royal Mail – a move which some have estimated cost UK taxpayers somewhere in the region of £1 billion – Labour shadow minister for postal services Gill Furniss this month reiterated her party’s support for renationalising the Royal Mail at the earliest opportunity.

Picture courtesy of shrinkin’violet

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