Post office closures in Scotland

Campaigners yesterday warned communities across Scotland will face a “devastating” blow in the New Year with the closure of hundreds of post offices.

Details of around 40 post offices likely to close in the Highlands and Islands will be announced on January 8, with the list of the 44 to be axed in Glasgow, Central Scotland and Argyll and Bute published the following day.

Announcements on further closures elsewhere in the country will be made throughout the year as part of the UK Government’s plans to shut 2500 post offices to help tackle rising losses.

Postal bosses insist “the status quo is not an option” and that the large-scale closures will guarantee the service’s long-term future.

But the decision was criticised yesterday by politicians and postal workers, who warned of the “devastating” effect it will have on local communities, especially those in rural areas.

Mike Weir, the SNP’s spokesman on business and postal affairs at Westminster, criticised the UK Government for giving communities only six weeks to fight the plans.

A spokesman for Postwatch said they believed the consultation period for the closure plans should be doubled from six to 12 weeks.

Campaigners yesterday warned communities across Scotland will face a “devastating” blow in the new year with the closure of hundreds of post offices.

Details of around 40 post offices likely to close in the Highlands and Islands will be announced on January 8, with the list of the 44 to be axed in Glasgow, Central Scotland and Argyll and Bute published the following day.

Announcements on further closures elsewhere in the country will be made throughout the year as part of the UK Government’s plans to shut 2500 post offices to help tackle rising losses.

Postal bosses insist “the status quo is not an option” and that the large-scale closures will guarantee the service’s long-term future.

But the decision was criticised yesterday by politicians and postal workers, who warned of the “devastating” effect it will have on local communities, especially those in rural areas.

Mike Weir, the SNP’s spokesman on business and postal affairs at Westminster, criticised the UK Government for giving communities only six weeks to fight the plans.

A spokesman for Postwatch said they believed the consultation period for the closure plans should be doubled from six to 12 weeks.

He added: “The closure of post offices inconveniences some customers and making the consultation period 12 weeks allows communities to get over the shock of what’s happening, look at what’s being proposed, and come up with sensible proposals.”

Post Office Ltd sparked anger in October when it announced the Glasgow, Central Scotland and Argyll and Bute branches facing closure.

The UK Government has said it wants the closures to take place by 2009, although it has said 500 “outreach” post offices, based in places like village halls, will be set up.

A spokeswoman for the Post Office said: “The status quo is not an option. Post Office Ltd has to take into account the strict criteria laid down by the UK Government that applies to both rural and urban areas, before producing its proposals.

“The proposals also take into account factors such as local demographics, locations of alternative offices and the local economy.

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