Wednesday, 13 December 2006

Bishops speak out over Post Office closures

Well tomorrow the government should be making an announcement about the future of post offices. I am heartened to read that the Bishop of Exeter, the Rt Rev Michael Langrish, and the Bishop of Truro, the Rt Rev Bill Ind, have both spoken out about, as they see it, the wrongful policy of closing post offices particularly in the rural areas of Devon and Cornwall. I cannot describe myself as a practising (i.e. churchgoing) Christian but I have the greatest respect for those two men. Why? Well apart from anything else they understand how villages and small towns work. One of my biggest complaints about urbancentric labour politicians is their lack of perception about life in the countryside and what living in very small communities is all about. Add that to the fact that so many of them have never had real jobs and it can be seen that there are problems in getting these people to understand our concerns.

Yes there is a lower footfall in many of our post offices but much of that is down to cynical policies by this government. And I would agree that renewing a licence online for example has to be cheaper for the government than using your local friendly post office. But as usual the powers that be have no concern about the social cost. And if we are to reduce our carbon footprint isn't it better to have a post office facility in your own village rather than travelling by car orhaving to use a poor bus service?

Interesting point about car tax renewal: on line I am expected to pay my dues at least 5 days before the end of the month so there is time for DVLA to process the application and post the tax disc in time for the start of the month. Going to the post office, as I do, means effectively I can delay payment by these 5 days. Incidentally you can use a credit card on line but you have to pay an extra £2.50 for the privilege. Not a good deal for the motorist! A further point - on the leaflet that came with my tax disc reminder, in describing the new electronic system they used the phrase "What's the easiest way to renew my tax disc?" In other words they were suggesting this way as opposed to using the PO. Oh, and I almost forgot you can renew over the phone using an 0870 number which again costs.

1 comment:

pat said...

Get your voice heard - the rural post office network -

Everyone has a view on the future of the rural post office network - but will everyone's views be heard? Perhaps you have a good idea on the future of the network; perhaps your own experience shows a vital aspect has been over-looked. Now there is a simple way to get your point across quickly and easily. The recent popularity in 'blogging' - contributing to a weblog or online message board - has inspired ruralnet|uk to set up a blog for this issue: a simple technique allowing thousands to add their personal comments to the debate. Over half of all UK homes have access to an online computer - as well as libraries, youth clubs, schools, day centres, UK online centres, and even some Post Offices! Anyone with an interest can visit the blog and leave their comment on the consultation questions, and read what others are saying.

ruralnet|uk Chief Executive, Simon Berry said "Government consultations are all very well, but they are time consuming and complicated. Fine for the professionals but not for the people affected. It will take just a few moments for anyone to have their say in our collective consultation and their views will go straight to the government."

Visit, click any of the ‘Comment’ links and have your say. You can comment on as little or as much as you like. It is as simple and quick as that. There is no printing or sending to do.

At the end of the consultation period, ruralnet|uk undertakes to summarise objectively all the comments received, and feed them into the Government’s consultation procedure. Says Simon: "We were the first to use the internet to run a collective consultation on the ‘first’ rural white paper way back in the spring of 1999 when we received 1154 contributions. It was said to be "one of the most useful submissions received”. So we know that a collective view from rural people, presented by us will carry a lot of weight.

So, don't be left out: go to state your views and have an impact on the future of post office services in rural areas.