By politics.co.uk staff
The Post Office network can be saved if ministers have the "will and imagination" to do so, a committee of MPs have said.
A report by the business and enterprise committee out today insisted the network did not need to abandon any of its services.
Despite steadily losing both public and private business to other delivery channels the report remains upbeat.
Committee chairman Peter Luff said: "We conclude that post offices can flourish again - and must be allowed to do so. Our report shows - in considerable detail - what needs to be done."
The report calls on the government to do more to work out what local authorities, businesses and individuals want to use the Post Office for.
And it says ministers have "underestimated" its potential to serve as a link between government and citizens.
"The government's support of £150 million a year is welcome, but it is absurd to be paying this each year to support a Post Office network which offers limited services when it could simply pay the network to offer services people actually want," Mr Luff added.
"It is time for politicians to step up to the mark and give post offices their wholehearted practical support."
Among the areas covered was the Post Office's ability to provide banking services.
A lack of information about which model is best needs to be rectified soon, the report said, adding that the government should consider using its nationalised banks to make sure access to their services is available through the network.
The government may wish to consider a proposal made yesterday by a coalition of organisations, including unions and the Federation of Small Businesses.
They proposed using nationalised Northern Rock as the basis for a 'Post Bank'.