The Conservative MP for Winchester & Chandler’s Ford, Steve Brine MP, has welcomed a £640m investment in the Post Office network.
Brine was in the House of Commons as the new funding was announced for the years 2015-2018 by Post Office Minister Jo Swinson who said the cash would enable the Post Office to complete its Network Transformation Programme, and allow it to protect and invest in those branches which provide vital services to their communities but are not commercially viable in their own right.
In 2010, the Government committed £1.3 billion to maintain a national Post Office network and modernise branches leading to its most stable period in over 20 years. The transformation programme, which has been developed by the Post Office in conjunction with the Federation of Sub-Postmasters, will now be accelerated bringing longer opening hours and modern branches to more areas.
The Minister, Jo Swinson, said;
“The Government does not underestimate the challenges facing the network, the Post Office centrally, and in particular, individual Sub-Postmasters. This new investment recognises that reality and makes clear the network needs to build on its core strengths of national reach and the trust in which it is rightly held by customers.”
Steve Brine welcomed the move and told MPs he had received notice from the Post Office of the proposed move of the Fryern Hill Post Office to new modern premises at the Fryern Arcade. That is subject to a period of public consultation which the MP urged people to look at. It runs until mid-January 2014.
Steve Brine MP said;
“The proposed move of the Fryern Hill branch to new premises will bring longer opening hours and enhanced disabled access as well as provide a modern environment in line with what customers expect of a business that is moving forward and here to stay. I know many of my constituents in this part of Chandler’s Ford will take a great interest in this and welcome the investment in our area.”
Speaking in the Commons, the MP also raised with the Minister the prospect of communities in his constituency who lost Post Office services in previous closure programmes, getting them back in some form. He said;
“Littleton was one of the communities I represent that fought valiantly to protect its well used Post Office that used to operate next to the Memorial Hall and I want to see if we can go back to the future. The demand may not be there anymore but I intend to find out and if necessary, put forward a strong case. This is in many ways unfinished business for me.”
During the debate Mr Brine secured an agreement from the Post Office Minister to meet with him so the pair can explore how new access to services can be achieved in the Winchester & Chandler’s Ford area and he added that he would be continuing to work with Ministers across a range of Departments to ensure the Post Office is winning work and securing its own future as a strong partner for Government that is able to deliver services.