Gary's News and views

Gary Streeter MP for South West Devon

Gary writes a weekly article which appears in the Plympton Plymstock and Ivybridge News in South West Devon. The articles are published here.


Monday, 11 November 2013


What a difference a policy change makes. For most of my career to date there had been at least one lively campaign running at any one time to save a post office somewhere in the constituency. The previous administration had a definite policy to close those, often in rural locations with the smallest footfall.

In the run up to the 2010 elections a clear promise was made by my own party to halt this programme of post office closures and to keep the network we inherited open. This decision recognised the community role played by many post offices in bringing local services to the community, especially to those who might otherwise be isolated. This is particularly important to the elderly for whom a trip to the post office can be a daily or weekly lifeline.

The keeping of this promise required a significant sum of money to be paid over to Post Office Limited, the company that is responsible for keeping the network alive and also for running the larger post offices like the huge one in Old Town Street Plymouth. Most of the smaller post offices are run by individuals as their private business, and have been for years. The government is also looking to find ways to increase the range of services that the post office can provide. The post office is a very trusted brand so the scope for this is strong.

On Friday I very happily cut the ribbon for the opening of the refurbished post office in Glanville's Mill Ivybridge. It is a family run business and the new design and layout is a partnership investment between the family and the Post office Limited. I am sure that this will pay dividends and that usage will increase, to the benefit of all. The new shop looks fabulous.

In many of the very smaller rural post offices the people employed to run the services are not paid a fortune and have to rely on the success of their retail side to make a satisfactory living. This is often easier said than done and wherever possible we should support those who have taken on this commercial risk.

In this Parliament there have been no campaigns to keep a post office open. If for any reason the existing sub post-master wishes to close, the company advertises for a new one. This has happened several times in some of the rural locations, always successfully.

Mission accomplished.

posted by Gary @ 16:06