News that the ongoing Post Office consultation could go on for at least another year "represents a huge opportunity to improve their viability" according to the Countryside Alliance.
The Government is currently staggering local consultations on the proposed closure of 2,500 of the 14,000 strong Post Office network. Government has claimed the closures are based on the branches' lack of economic viability, but the Alliance believes the long consultation process should be used as an opportunity to increase the viability of the network as a whole. Over £168 million of contracts that are in the Government's gift have been removed from the Post Office in recent years, including the TV licence contract.
Countryside Alliance Chief Executive Simon Hart commented: "There is a real chance here for the Government to save the day. 2,500 communities are anxiously waiting to hear their fate, and that time should be used productively. If the Government returns business to the Post Office, rather than remove it as it has been doing, economic viability will improve rapidly.
"We have always said that Post Offices represent the heart of many rural communities and that economic concerns represent only part of the bigger picture, but if we can improve the economic outlook, the social outlook will also benefit. Many isolated and elderly people would be hardest-hit by the closures, so what better use of this consultation time than applying some business sense to the problem and giving many communities the chance of long-term survival."
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