Post Office row is raised in Commons

PUBLISHED: 17:15 19 October 2006 | UPDATED: 11:03 06 May 2010

THE controversial closure of Letchworth GC s Post Office was raised in the House of Commons last week. North East Herts MP Oliver Heald asked leader of the house Jack Straw for a debate about the Post Office which would enable him to raise the issue of Le

THE controversial closure of Letchworth GC's Post Office was raised in the House of Commons last week.

North East Herts MP Oliver Heald asked leader of the house Jack Straw for a debate about the Post Office which would enable him to raise the issue of Letchworth GC's branch.

Mr Heald also told Mr Straw that he wanted to discuss the attitude of Post Office managing director Alan Cook, "who has refused to meet me to discuss the matter and has not even replied personally".

In reply, Mr Straw told Mr Heald the Liberal Democrats had tabled a debate about the Post Office in general for the following Monday.

However, Mr Straw defended the Post Office, saying the company had had to "cope with changes quite beyond its control".

Mr Straw added: "There has been a serious decline in traditional letters since the introduction of e-mail and the internet, so the Post Office has to make changes."

He said that the Government had given £2 billion to maintain the network, including £750 million for the rural network.

The Liberal Democrats' motion, which was debated on Monday as expected, was eventually defeated, and Mr Heald was not given time to speak.

However, he said the debate was "a chance for the opposition parties to make our point that we're not very happy about it".

He added: "We're just going to keep the pressure on and I hope eventually this Mr Cook will meet me because I think it's appalling that he hasn't been prepared to see me.

"There is a lot of concern in Parliament at the moment about the way in which the Post Office has behaved and a concern I think as well that they're not reflecting the needs of their customers, particularly the most vulnerable."

Mr Heald has also written to the cross-party committee which deals with trade and industry to complain about the issue of closing Letchworth GC's central branch.


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