“Existing network of post offices across the Valleys and Vale is in good shape”

ONE of my key local priorities has been to support our post offices This focus was in response to the wholly unacceptable and unnecessary closure programme pursued by the last Labour Government (eight post offices were closed up to 2010).

I am delighted to say that - except for one ongoing but, ultimately, resolvable difficulty in Painswick.

I have worked in conjunction with the Post Office to achieve this outcome so I thank its staff for continued support and advice.

The essential step taken by the coalition government was to inject £2 billion into the system to support rural post offices.

Legislation was passed to underpin this policy.

Ironically, these measures utterly undermine the claims by the last Labour government that their closure programme was forced by state intervention rules from the European Union.

As far as Painswick is concerned, the problem has been finding suitable premises following the arrest and imprisonment of the last postmistress.

Various options have been considered but, after a meeting in the town hall, the solution is likely to be a new situation in the town centre (hopefully soon).

Many people have been involved in this process and their work is much appreciated.

One of the great pleasures of working with post offices is meeting so many local entrepreneurs.

Post offices are businesses and many have fabulous extra services through retail activity of all sorts.

In Whitminster, for example, the post office is located in the award winning Highfield Garden World.

Elsewhere, community shops flourish – Uley is a case in point.

Other post offices such as Brimscombe have extremely generous opening hours, making it possible, for example, to do business before and after work.

After some discussion, the post office in North Woodchester is confirmed to remain providing all services.

Post offices are necessary parts of rural and community life.

I will continue to support and promote our local network.