Who needs proper Post Offices? 2,000 to close next year.

13 December 2011

post officeNow that nominations have closed for Britain’s Worst Company, we can cheerfully tell you about the latest wheeze of that much loved British institution, the Post Office, knowing we cannot influence your vote in any way. After all, who but a worthy contender would wish their customers a Merry Christmas by closing 2,000 Post Office branches to replace them with crappy counters in petrol stations?

Under plans to be rolled out from June, one fifth of the current 11,500 strong branch network will be converted into new "PO Locals", which offer a downgraded service within other commercial premises. Customers will not be able to apply for driving licences, send post bulky mail overseas, pay car tax or make cash withdrawals using passbooks.

However, it seems that some complaining sorts are not altogether over the moon with the idea of replacing a fully functioning service with a pale shadow of its former self. Andy Burrowes, a self-confessed postal expert at Consumer Focus, told The Daily Telegraph: “Instead of a dedicated counter for postal transactions longstanding post office customers would be expected to queue up behind other people buying milk and crisps in order to receive their weekly pensions.” Thank goodness  there are no PO Locals in porn shops is all we can say. Mr Burrowes went on to claim that “some PO Locals ran out of money, and were not be able to pay pensions and benefits, because they cannot hold as much cash as branches. This meant they had to “ration” their cash “to make sure they have got enough cash behind the till to keep them going throughout the day.”

Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director of Age UK, said: “Post offices are a real lifeline for many older people who use them as a 'one-stop' shop to access their pension, benefits, pay their bills, get advice and even in some cases socialise with others. It is imperative that there is as little disruption as possible to the service for older customers during this programme of conversion.”

Post Office Limited has been gradually rolling out a trial of the new service during this year. doubling the number of PO Locals from 60 earlier this year to 115 today . The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, which is expected to take over the running of the post office network from Royal Mail in April next year, defended the plans, saying customers would now benefit from being able to access post office services round the clock, during the hours that the convenience store or garage is open. Assuming they have any money or stamps left, of course.

A BIS spokesman said: “The Post Office network will be maintained at its current size and coverage of 11,500 outlets nationwide and strict access criteria must be met to ensure reasonable access to services for all. This is about making sure that people have access to the services they want and need from their post office, at times they want them, and making running a post office more profitable for hard working sub-postmasters.”

Sub-postmasters are being offered the equivalent of 18 months’ salary if they agree to close down or convert into a PO Local.

Still, it is really only the pensioners who will be worst affected by these changes, and let’s face it, they probably shouldn’t be allowed to drive anyway, so they don’t need driving licence applications or car tax renewal services. Inflation has also worn their savings down to practically nothing, so they don’t need passbook services and they may as well just redirect their pensions to the energy companies and sit at home by the two bar fire eh?

TOPICS:   High Street News   Motoring


  • Pat
    At least we can do a lot of the posty type things online through their reliable, fast website. Oh no wait..
  • Sicknote
    Can't bloody stand the post office; full of old ladies that smell of piss & biscuits and dole scroungers cashing gyros. Anyway, who the fuck needs to post a birthday card when you have that funky magpie shite.
  • Me
    There is one of these near me - its based in some sort random bazaar shop featuring handmade jewellery, printer cartridge refills, fresh made sandwiches and laptop repairs to name a few of the retail shopping experiences on offer. Its a truly hateful experience to stand in the 20 deep queue which trails around the shop whilst the three staff behind a single counter spend 15 minutes renewing a bus pass. I say privatise the royal mail whilst there is something left to sell. With the proliferation of courier companies and the shift from traditional mail to instant communications there isn't much of an argument for the government to maintain a "service" that is clearly hemorrhaging cash and offering less and less in terms of customer services
  • Sawyer
    I agree with Me. Although this article is technically about Post Offices rather than Royal Mail, it's about time we got rid of the whole damn thing. Royal Mail are the only delivery company who can't find my house, despite them being the ones who decided my postcode. And of course when I try to complain, their website isn't working - and any emails I do manage to send to them are from with a "do not reply" email address.
  • Ron
    Great, so as well as waiting for Gladys to buy her rich teas and toilet rolls I now have to wait for her to do whatever it is that old people slowly do in post offices before I can pay for m vastly overpriced petrol.
  • Businessman
    So what is it with post offices. Whenever one is closed or threatened then it's only ever the "older" or "the elderly" that are predicted to have a problem. WTF I am quite old but I am not bothered. There must be something going on.
  • Dick
    Why can't they have their pensions paid directly into a bank account anyway? And so what if they have to travel into town to do anything. They have free bus passes paid for by us too.
  • Liam
    "Customers will not be able to apply for driving licences, send post bulky mail overseas, pay car tax or make cash withdrawals using passbooks." Apply for a driving licence online Send your bulky post via Parcel2Go or MyParcelDelivery - it's much cheaper Pay your car tax online Get a proper bank account - if you can't get the credit, the Co-Op do a good basic bank account which gives you a Visa. The post office is seriously dated. Why do I have to wait up to 48 hours to collect my parcel from a post office? Just post at times when I'm at home rather than when Tiffany down the road is in with her five kids eating turkey dinosaurs whilst watching Jeremy Kyle.
  • Mike H.
    Brilliant idea, you'll get the dick head BMW Audi drivers parking at the pumps to send their latest iPhone sale on eBay, whilst making those who want fuel wait! "...access their pension, benefits, pay their bills, get advice and even in some cases socialise with others." It takes them 1/2 an hour to do all that shit. Thats exactly why the PO is in such a shit state, people have to wait for old duffers to decide which fucking collectable stamps they prefer! FUCKING IDIOTS!
  • Robin B.
    Who needs the Post Office to get at there money, the futures in Banks

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