County will fight to keep post offices

SUFFOLK will fight to retain post offices vital to keeping the county's town and villages healthy, councillors vowed today.After continuing uncertainty about the number of post offices in the county, Suffolk County Council today said it would “help protect the service for the people of Suffolk”.

SUFFOLK will fight to retain post offices vital to keeping the county's town and villages healthy, councillors vowed today.

After continuing uncertainty about the number of post offices in the county, Suffolk County Council today said it would “help protect the service for the people of Suffolk”.

While the council admitted it had no direct responsibility for post offices, it said it had a responsibility for initiatives that encouraged social cohesion and it added that post offices were at the forefront of social cohesion and played an important social and economic role in the communities they serve.

The Post Office responded to the comments by saying it had to find a “commercially sustainable solution” for a network which is losing about £70million each year.

Jeremy Pembroke, the council's leader, said: “Post offices, especially those linked to a local shop, are part of the fabric of local communities providing access to basic essentials.

“In many cases the local post office provides an important social, community and economic function and we need to work together to protect them against the continuing trend of closures, especially in deprived urban and isolated rural areas.

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“I was pleased to have the backing of the Cabinet to take this important work forward, and with the support of the local business community and the voluntary sector I am confident that we will continue to work together with other stakeholders to examine all the options and hopefully make a positive contribution to protect the services that the post office provides for everyone.”

A spokesman for the Post Office said: “Post Office Ltd is currently undertaking work to establish the future of the Crown Post Office network, including exploring the option to work with partners.

“Any partnership must form part of a commercially sustainable solution for the network of Crown Post Offices which is currently losing around £70m a year.”