Have your say on the future of Post Offices - Inquiry comes to Devon.

PUBLISHED: 17:23 11 March 2009 | UPDATED: 08:43 18 June 2010

A HOUSE of Commons Select Committee of MPs will be finding out how 15 Devon post offices were saved from closure when they visit Devon on Tuesday, March 17 as part of its Inquiry

A HOUSE of Commons Select Committee of MPs will be finding out how 15 Devon post offices were saved from closure when they visit Devon on Tuesday, March 17 as part of its Inquiry, 'Post Offices - Securing their future.'

The influential All-Party Business and Enterprise Committee is holding the Inquiry into how the Post Office network can provide a good level of service but is also commercially viable in the future. The Committee hopes to report by early summer

The MPs have chosen to visit Devon because of Devon County Council's innovative programme to save 15 post offices from closure. The shops received a grant of £5000 with free business advice from the County Council to adapt to the removal of support from Post Office Limited.

The visit is being hosted by the Devon and Torbay Post Office Task Force which Councils across Devon formed last year to fight post office closures in the county. The MPs will hear a presentation at County Hall, Exeter, by the Task Force on its report on post offices in Devon and recommendations for their future viability. The MPs will also meet representatives from County and District Councils and visit Kennerleigh, the location of one of the post offices saved from closure following a campaign by residents and councillors.

The Select Committee will also hold a public meeting in the Council Chamber at County Hall on March 17 between 4.30 and 5.45pm which all members of the public are invited to attend. The Committee is interested in hearing local peoples' views and ideas about how the post office service can meet community needs.

Councillor Gordon Hook, the County Council's Champion for Post Offices, said: "This is a vital milestone for the future of our post office network in Devon. We have a real opportunity to focus the attention of an influential body of MPs on an issue of genuine concern to communities right across our county. They will see at first hand how innovative initiatives by Devon County Council have saved post offices from closure and will hear the important recommendations from the Devon and Torbay Post Office Task Group.

"The battle for our post offices is not over and I urge members of the public and interested organisations in Devon or Torbay to attend the public meeting at County Hall. This is a unique opportunity to let MPs know our views about the post office network and to share ideas for how it can be sustained in the long term."

Peter Luff MP, Chairman of the Parliamentary Business and Select Committee said:

"We welcome the Government's recognition of the expertise the Committee has built up over the years. The Government's whole hearted engagement with this inquiry will we hope provide the basis for a comprehensive Post Office network, providing commercial and public services at the lowest possible cost to the taxpayer. We are sure the public will engage with us in shaping the future of a network which will serve their needs. The independent, all-party, nature of Select Committees means that the public can be confident their views will be taken into account."

The Committee is gathering evidence from interested parties included those in competition with the Royal Mail to find out what kind of services post offices should offer and what, if any, level of subsidy is appropriate. Taking this into account, the Committee will in turn examine the potential costs to the taxpayer and the viability of the sorts of services customers would like to see. In addition, there are the wider aspects of the social and economic factors which surround the post office network, particularly in rural communities, which the Inquiry is investigating.


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