Post office closures
Over the past few years the government have chosen to carry out a policy of closing many small post offices around Britain, because of rising losses and fewer people using the service. This restructuring of the postal service has affected many people in small villages and rural communities that have been left without an easily accessible post office.
Reasoning for the closures
Over the past decade people have increasingly been using their local post office in fewer numbers. People are choosing to access post office services in different ways, such as using the internet or setting up direct debits to pay bills rather than going direct to their post office to do so. Because of the range of options available to people who use these services, many post offices are seeing much less business than they used to.
The government decision to start closing smaller post offices is a policy which aims to make the post office network smaller and more sustainable in terms of costs. The decision to close smaller post offices is seen as the most economically viable decision, allowing the government to prevent losses of £4 million per week across the network. Decreasing use of the network affects smaller post offices much more than larger ones, resulting in small offices being the most likely to be closed. The restructuring of the service has included the use of mobile post offices to replace services in smaller rural communities, ensuring that people still have access to a mobile post office
Despite the measures that provide more remote communities with access to mobile offices, the continuing trend of closing small post offices has significant consequences for residents of villages and rural communities across Great Britain. For many of these communities the local post office is the only shop in the village, and it provides residents with a valuable service close to home. Many local shops and businesses rely heavily on their local post offices for survival, and closures take local business and services far away from those who need them. For many rural communities having to travel large distances to use such services can lead to residents being forced to move to more urban areas in the long term. Local post offices often represent the heart of small village communities, the closure of which leaves remote communities even more cut off from the rest of the country.
Benefits of Internet growth
There are other ways to access post office services, such as via the internet, direct debit, by phone and using cash machines. Increasing availability of internet access to rural communities means that these alternatives are available for local people to use. There is a trend towards greater use of the internet in other areas of the economy such as banking and retail, meaning that people in remote rural communities are able to access these services despite the closure of local shops or post offices.