Sub-postmistress protests over closures

AN Ipswich sub-postmistress is today preparing to join a rally to persuade the government to safeguard the future of her trade.

AN Ipswich sub-postmistress is today preparing to join a rally to persuade the government to safeguard the future of her trade.

The Evening Star is backing the protest and has provided banners for Beryl Keats, who is in charge of the Dales Road Post Office, to take with her.

Mrs Keats will join thousands of people who will descend on the Houses of Parliament on October 18 to highlight concerns about the state of the post office network.

She says the day is about trying to reduce the number of post office closures and bringing back business to the stores.

She said: “The day is not just for sub postmasters. It is for anyone who uses post offices to join in. We have hired a coach and are inviting anyone who uses post offices to come and campaign with us.”

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

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The organisation wants to know how many post office closures are likely, compensation for the staff of the ones that do, to encourage councils to use post offices for the services they provide such as benefits, introduction of post office bank services and recognition of the services which the post offices provide in the community.

Mrs Keats added: “We have already lost a lot of our former responsibilities, such as issuing the TV licence and now we will lose our contract with utility bills too.

“By 2008 the rural funding will also be lost which means there is very little support for the rural network.”

Doreen Whittaker, 70, of The Heath, Woolpit, is one of those who will be going on the rally.

She said: “It is very important to keep post offices not just for the elderly but for everyone.

“If the one in Woolpit was to close then I don't know how we would get to another one. Post offices are not often on bus routes.

“I believe the post office is a focal point of village life and it is not just about buying stamps.”

A spokesman for the Post Office said: “The government must decide the size and shape of the Post Office network it wants and be clear about how that network will be funded.”

Weblink: www.nfsp.org.uk

A free coach will be leaving the Tesco car park at Copdock, Ipswich, at 7.15am on October 18. For more details contact Mrs Keats on 01473 254052.

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