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4 December 2006

Stevenson Welcomes Post Office Debate in Parliament

Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson today (Monday) welcomed the news that the Scottish Parliament is to debate the future of rural post offices during Members’ Business this week.

Mr Stevenson said:

“I am glad that Parliament is to have an opportunity to debate the increasingly uncertain future of rural post offices and my SNP colleague John Swinney is to be congratulated for tabling the motion.

“The motion notes the public concern over the future of the rural post office network in rural Scotland in the light of the proposed removal of the rural subsidy to our Post Offices by the UK Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in 18 months’ time.

“What is also of great concern is that while the DTI provides this subsidy, other UK government departments such as the Department for Work and Pensions, the Department for Transport and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport are taking decisions that reduce the volume and value of transactions that can be undertaken at post offices, thereby damaging their financial viability.

“If our rural post office network is not supported there will be economic loss and loss of amenity in rural Banff & Buchan. I therefore feel that the Scottish Executive should make representations to the UK Government calling for a stable level of support that guarantees the viability of the rural post office network.

"Rural post offices are a vital backbone of rural communities; they provide a range of services far beyond what could reasonably be expected and make a huge contribution to the economic and social health of local communities.

"I hope that Ministers will agree after the debate to make the strongest possible representations to the UK Government about the importance of this network.

“We cannot tolerate a situation where the Government reduces its level of support and as a consequence the access by members of the public to post offices is reduced. This is an opportunity to protect rural services and I encourage Members of the Scottish Parliament to make their voices heard.”


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