Trade and industry select committee criticises government for cutting consultation period on post office closures to six weeks

The Trade and Industry Select Committee has criticised the government’s reduced consultation period on post office closures.

In a report published today (11 June), the committee said a six-week public consultation on the plans was “insufficient” and called for a standard 12-week period.

Trade and industry secretary Alistair Darling last month confirmed the closure of 2,500 post offices because the network is losing £4m a week.

The committee said a longer consultation period was needed as there were many complex factors to take into account. It also said a significant number of local authorities would find it difficult to comment in the time available, as they meet only once every six weeks to two months.

Committee chairman Peter Luff MP said: “We welcome the government’s determination to establish a comprehensive national network. However, we want that network to be sustainable, and we are yet to be convinced that either the government or Post Office Ltd has thought through what to do in the event of future closures, and how to make post offices more profitable and less dependent on continued public subsidy.

“Without this, there is a real danger that we will be faced with an inadequate network within a few years.”

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