Clwyd West MS Darren Millar sponsored an event in the Senedd today which provided Postmasters from across Wales with the opportunity to discuss with Members of the Senedd the challenges they are currently experiencing.
At the National Federation of SubPostmasters (NFSP) drop-in, Postmasters highlighted some of the current issues pertinent to Wales including; reduced cash deposit limits over post office counters not aligning to large-scale bank branch closures; the closure of post offices, especially in areas with no bank branch, Outreaches being closed leaving rural communities without access to Services of General Economic Interest (SGEI’s) such as mails and banking, along with the decline of Government and Local Authority services available over post office counters.
There are 969 Post Offices in Wales as of 2023, and a quarter are considered “the last shop in the village”.
Six out of seven SME’s rated a Post Office being nearby and convenient as important to them; 39% of SME’s say cash and banking services at a Post Office is important to them; and 99% of the rural population live within 3 miles of a Post Office and more than half the network are located in rural locations.
“For years, Postmasters across the UK have been valued throughout their communities, with many Post Offices seen as unofficial community hubs. This is supported by recent Post Office-commissioned research by the LSE, which found that half of customers believe Post Office fosters a sense of belonging in the community. This is further supported by recent research by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), who found that Post Offices and pharmacies came top of the rankings for 2023 for services that have the most positive impact on a local area.
“With Wales having such a large rural population, post offices are even more important to customers who rely on them for their postal and banking needs. Yet, we heard at the drop-in that the infrastructure to support rural post offices is diminishing, and that unless the network is protected for the future, offices will close at an increasing rate. The NFSP reports that approximately six per week are closing.
“Postmasters are undoubtedly facing challenging times and it was good to have the opportunity to discuss their concerns. With a quarter of post offices considered “the last shop in the village”, it is vital that we do everything we can to support our Postmasters and help secure the sustainability of the Post Office Network.”