Ipswich contingent joins London protest

AN Ipswich sub postmistress and her supporters joined thousands of others in Westminster today to campaign for a secure future for the post office.Beryl Keats, sub postmistress of the Dales Road Post Office, organised a coach to take campaigners from Suffolk and Essex to London to join in with the campaign organised by the National Federation of Sub Postmasters.

AN Ipswich sub postmistress and her supporters joined thousands of others in Westminster today to campaign for a secure future for the post office.

Beryl Keats, sub postmistress of the Dales Road Post Office, organised a coach to take campaigners from Suffolk and Essex to London to join in with the campaign organised by the National Federation of Sub Postmasters.

The Ipswich contingent set off from Tesco's, Copdock, shortly after dawn today with banners of support from The Evening Star.

Once in London the group was due to join others at the Houses of Parliament to hand over a petition with four million signatures calling for the post office to be protected.

Mrs Keats said: “We are looking to make the government realise that post offices can't operate without business - and over the years more and more has been taken away.

“Now post offices are closing the government must realise we can't run a business on thin air.”

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There are five points the National Federation of Sub Postmasters are demanding to secure the long-term future of the trade.

The organisation wants to know how many post office closures are likely and to see compensation for the staff of the ones that do.

It wants to encourage councils to use post offices for services they provide such as benefits, introduce post office bank services and recognise services which the post offices provide in the community.

Colin Baker, general secretary of the National Federation of Sub Post Offices, said: “We believe that the time is now overdue for Ministers to decide. We are fighting today for the post office of tomorrow, and the Government must act.'

The national number of post offices has fallen in recent years from 18,393 in 1999 to 14,376 in 2005, according to Postwatch, the watchdog for postal services.

Mrs Keats was due to meet with Ipswich MP Chris Mole after going to parliament at 2.30pm.

N What do you think about the closing of community post offices? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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