POST OFFICE: BEIS SELECT COMMITTEE INQUIRY – POST OFFICE NETWORK – MINISTER’S RESPONSE
Further to LTB 305/19 dated 22nd May 2019. A further evidence hearing was held last week in relation to the BEIS Select Committee inquiry into the Post Office network. The second hearing was held specifically to hear evidence from the Minister, Kelly Tolhurst, who requested a delay to her oral evidence session rather than attending the first hearing held on 21st May which the Union attended along with the NFSP, Citizens Advice, WH Smith, the Association of Convenience Stores and the Post Office. The House of Commons transcript of this week’s Ministerial hearing is attached for your information.
The Minister was questioned at length by the Committee and the MPs in attendance on the franchising programme, SubPostmasters’ remuneration and Post Bank.
Of particular note was a question from Peter Kyle, Labour MP for Hove, who challenged the so-called public “consultations” surrounding Crown Office franchising a “sham”. Kelly Tolhurst responded by suggesting the whole consultation process was more about receiving feedback about the location change rather than whether the Crown should actually be franchised. She did however note that the Post Office should be clearer about what they were actually consulting on and agreed to ask the Post Office for more information before responding back to the committee.
Disappointingly but predictably, when asked whether she would be happy with the Crown Offices being 100% franchised, the Minister said she believed the franchise system was working well. Obviously this position doesn’t bode well for our members’ jobs in the Crown network, hence the need to continue building upon the Save Our Post Office campaign.
Press Coverage – Save our Post Offices Campaign
The Daily Mail, which launched its Save our Local Post Offices campaign last month, followed up the previous high profile articles (which included a front page headline) with a further piece on the Post Office concentrating on the requirement for government to provide an ongoing subsidy to support rural Post Offices often described as the last shop in the village. The article, under the heading “Lifeline for 3,000 rural post offices” can be accessed by using the following link:
Additionally, a web article criticising much of the Minister’s evidence, particularly in relation to the Union and also the Labour party policy of establishing a Post Bank is attached for your information.
We await with interest to see the report from the BEIS Select Committee along with the recommendations. Hopefully this will be published prior to the parliamentary recess.
Further developments will be reported.
If you have any questions in relation to this LTB, please contact Lea Sheridan – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andy Furey Terry Pullinger Dave Ward
Assistant Secretary Deputy General Secretary (P) General Secretary