Post Office network 'close to collapse' with 2,500 branches set to close in one year
20 May 2019, 10:57 | Updated: 20 May 2019, 15:34
MPs have warned the Post Office is past 'tipping point' if more isn't done by the government.
MP’s have issued a stark warning that the Post Office network is ‘close to collapse’ as cuts in Government funding threaten its future.
Around 1000 branches are said to be currently listed as closed, with more than 2500 at risk over the next year.
Two thirds of these cuts have been triggered by the Sub-postmasters - the private business owners running smaller branches - struggling to make money and being forced to quit.
The government subsidy of the network will also end in 2021, but there have since been calls for this to to be extended in a bid to protect even more village branches from being closed.
MPs will be told tomorrow that the network is close to crumbling if the “digital” first approach by ministers isn't changed.
The National Federation of Sub-Postmasters have said: “A tipping point has been passed. It is increasingly difficult to make a decent living.
“The viability of sub post offices and the morale of sub-postmasters has been eroded to the extent that the network’s resilience is extremely limited.
“We believe a tipping point has been passed and the consequences of this are now being realised.
“Sub-postmasters are resigning in high numbers because it is increasingly difficult to make a decent living. The closure of 2,500 post offices in a year would be a catastrophic loss to communities.”
Post offices have seen revenue from Government services cut from £576million in 2004-05 to just £99million in 2017-18.
This comes as the Royal Mail recently announced it’ll be launching the UK’s first ever parcel postboxes in locations across the country from August this year.
Following a successful trial in 2018, 1,400 parcel postboxes will be brought to locations such as Birmingham, Leeds, Aberdeen and Cardiff.
The specially made postboxes allow customers to post pre-paid parcels and some barcoded returns parcels without having to visit their local postoffice.
Mark Street, head of campaigns at Royal Mail, said: "The wide-scale introduction of parcel postboxes is one of the many ways we are looking to make the lives of our customers easier.
"The parcel postboxes trial last year was a success, and we hope that the wider roll-out gives added flexibility to online sellers who might be running a business in their spare time and not keeping regular office hours."