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21 March 2008

Stevenson Condemns Labour MP's Support for Post Office Closures

Banff and Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson today condemned the Labour Politicians who voted against bringing a halt to the Post Office Reform Programme and to look again at support for post offices or alternatives such as community or council ownership. While there was cross party support with SNP, Tory, and Lib Dem MPs voting to suspend the closures alongside 19 English Labour rebels, the motion failed by 20 votes. Of particular note was the failure of any Scottish Labour MPs to vote to stop the closures.

The Post Office, as part of their Network Change Programme, has announced plans to close over 250 local Post Offices in Scotland by 2009.

Commenting on the vote, Mr. Stevenson said:

"Post Offices provide vital services for local communities in particular for pensioners and for those living in more remote rural areas. The SNP Government believes that a strong vibrant post office network is fundamental in the provision of many important services and one which plays a crucial role in supporting small businesses.

"We do not believe that the 250 planned closures are necessary and that these offices should be forced to shut as a result of meddling by the UK Government is both illogical and contrary to public opinion.

"The threat of Post Office closures in Banff and Buchan will act as another slap in the face to my constituents from the UK Labour Government. I call on the Labour MP’s from the surrounding area in particular Frank Doran MP, Anne Begg MP and Jim McGovern MP to clarify why they voted against halting the Post Office Reform Programme.

"Sadly the provision of postal services is reserved for Westminster under the current terms of the devolution settlement ensuring the SNP Government’s hands are tied on this issue. Coming off the back of the massive hike on whisky duties we see twice in the space of a week decisions being taken by the Westminster Labour Government that harms the Interests of the people of Banff and Buchan and ignores Scottish sentiment. For too long we have seen the Labour MP’s from Scotland submissively toeing the party line to the detriment of our national interest."
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