post office closure consultation

Simon Fairlie chapter7 at
Thu Apr 3 17:24:43 BST 2008

Here is my response to the consultation on post office closures which  
closes on 9 April. Please remember to send in your protest before  
then to

consultation at

Dear Sir/Madam

I run a business selling scythes and other garden tools by mail  
order. Most of my customers are rural. I spend nearly £4000 per year  
in  my local post-office (S Petherton, Somerset). This is not yet  
under threat. I use the post office because it is a more efficient  
service than the private couriers. It it is more efficient because  
postmen know the district better than couriers; and when somebody is  
not in, then  the parcel can be left at a local post office close to  
the recipient, rather than at a couriers' depot in a more distant  
large town.

It is absolutely insane to shut post offices down. Shutting down the  
unprofitable ones is as stupid as Beeching shutting down the  
tributary railway lines — you need the tributaries to make the whole  
system comprehensive. If they can't be paid for at the moment then  
the whole system is unprofitable, and you need to put another penny  
on the price of stamps.

The lack of profitability, and the dismantling of the service  is  
driven by an ideological obsession with "competitiveness" which means  
we have dozens of white vans running around the countryside  
delivering individual packets and getting lost, when all reasonably  
sized packages could  be delivered by one red van. There are  
situations where competition is beneficial, but transport  
infrastrucure is not one of them (as the privatization of rail and   
buses has shown) . Having all these private couriers running around  
is as stupid as building two competing roads to a destination when  
one could carry all the traffic. All we need is Royal Mail, and  
Parcel Force, both of which are easily accessible through the post  

The government is supposed to be addressing global warming. If it  
were serious about this it would be ensuring that there were post  
offices in every village that provided a one-stop shop for all sorts  
of vital services, and that had a monopoly on postal delivery,  
because we cannot afford to keep thousands of competing white vans  
running around creating unneccessary emissions.

Simon Fairlie

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