THIS was always going to be a testing period for rural Post Offices as local branches become unsustainable because they’re simply not used by sufficient people, not least because far more communication is done electronically.
More than 600 shops have already shut in Yorkshire since the turn of the millennium, nearly 40 per cent of the entire network, and there are genuine concerns that these cuts are now causing genuine hardship and inconvenience to all those who regard this service as a lifeline.
As banks, pubs, shops, buses ebb away, the post office has invariably become a one-stop shop and bosses have tried, where possible, to be pragmatic and come up with novel ways to retain some semblance of service.
In some cases, moving a branch into a small supermarket means longer opening hours – a plus for local residents. In other incidents, there has been a discernible loss of expertise, to the point where new staff do not have the knowhow that is necessary to send a parcel overseas.
Three points need to be made in light of this newspaper’s latest revelations. To begin, customers should have the right to expect first class service. Secondly, it’s important that branches only close as a last resort. Thirdly, the public recognise the importance of supporting their local post office and shop. The maxim ‘use it or lose it’ has never been more applicable, whether it be in rural or urban Yorkshire, if the last post is to be avoided...