Watching Labour minister Pat McFadden on TV yesterday (Andrew Marr show) state what we have all been screaming – that even profitable sub-Post Offices are being closed in the relentless decimation of local public services.
I’ve always argued that you can’t judge local public services simply on the basis of direct cash profit and loss – there are indirect costs and benefits too, and many of the benefits are not cash but in other forms. But it really takes the biscuit to be told that even Post Offices that are making a profit on a narrow cash basis are being closed!
For those that aren’t making a direct cash profit – with an open mind and a bit of determination it is not beyond the wit of man to make more of them profitable by introducing other services.
In Highgate, for example, the Highgate Society did a cost / benefit analysis. They obtained from the Post Office the proposed savings from closing that outlet.
And what did they find? Savings from central services around £25,000. Cost to local people in terms of extra time taken to go to further away Post Office alternatives – around £300,000.
So – the cost is to us and the benefit is to the Post Office. Did the Government not think that some of us think the £150 million ‘subsidy’ was actually a subsidy worth paying until more services could be brought in to up the profit of each branch? They are certainly happy enough to throw zillions at useless things like ID cards.
Also – there are fifty councils looking to try and help Post Offices stay open by putting council services through them. I attacked George Meehan (Labour leader of Haringey Council) when I did my surgery from our threatened Salisbury Road Post Office on this – and he promised to look into it. I have, since written to him to ask same. No reply as yet.