Tuesday, 26 July 2016 09:53

Call to safeguard rural postal services

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Call to safeguard rural postal services

POSTAL deliveries to and from remote and sparsely populated areas must not be jeopardised, the Rural Services Network has warned.

The network issued the warning in its response to a review by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Government ministers are seeking views about postal services – in particular the Universal Service Obligation, which aims to protect deliveries and collections in smaller communities.

The network said the government should use the review to reaffirm its commitment to postal deliveries to countryside communities.

Rural households and businesses were consistently receiving a six-day postal delivery to their home or premises, which arrived at an affordable and standard national price, it said.

Homes and businesses were also continuing to benefit from the collection of mail six-days per week from post boxes and other collection points.

"As far as we are aware, this level of service is being delivered to rural communities," said the network. "We are not in receipt of evidence or local intelligence to the contrary."

The network said it did not believe that the "consumer experience" had altered in any fundamental way since the introduction of the 2011 Postal Services Act.

The Act was introduced to provide for the restructuring of Royal Mail.

This included the sale of up to 90% of the company and provisions for a "special administrative regime" should the universal postal service be put at risk from insolvency proceedings.

The Rural Services Network said it was important that any proposed changes to the Act were "rural proofed" to ensure they weren't to the detriment of countryside communities.

" This would identify, test for and address the rural implications, to avoid unforeseen and negative impacts," said the network.

It added: "Aside from this, the RSN considers that government should use the outcome of this review to re-affirm its commitment to the postal services USO.

"That would send a strong and a positive message which would be welcomed by rural communities."

The network's full response to the government review can be downloaded here.

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  • Guest (David Cask)

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    Rural post offices are a boon to many folk who visit our villages not to mention the residents. When our post office (in Walpole) was closed, it meant a six mile return journey even to get a letter weighed, then pay a parking fee of £1 for an hour just to pop in to the post office, or collect a pension. Now the banks are at it!! IF I need to go to my nearest branch it is in Beccles now some 15 miles away, and yes!! more expensive parking.

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