A coalition of unions, MPs and small businesses has called for the creation of Post Bank which would create 11,000 jobs and save jobs at risk through the closure of Post Offices.
Employer groups including the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) have thrown their weight behind the plan to create a ‘people’s bank’, offering consumers a local banking infrastructure delivered through the UK’s 11,500 Post Office branches.
The post office has twice as many branches as Britain’s banks put together, and interest groups have claimed that creating a national ‘local’ bank will help people without bank accounts as well as save and create jobs.
The coalition is made up of the Communication Workers Union (CWU), Unite, the FSB, the Public Interest Research Centre and the New Economics Foundation.
The government is considering selling a stake in Royal Mail, of which The Post Office is part, to the private sector, but the network of post offices would not be included in this sale.
The Federation of Small Businesses is seeking members’ views on setting up a Post Bank through a survey on its website.
FSB national chairman John Wright told the Guardian: “Small businesses are completely reliant on the Post Office network, with 80% passing their letters and parcels through the Post Office and 47% visiting a post office a couple of times each week.
“Establishing Post Bank would not only retain jobs but could also, we estimate, create 11,000 new jobs.”
A statement on the CWU website said: “With major private banks still failing to provide the lending that huge government backing was intended to kick-start, People’s Bank can allow the government to direct investment exactly where it is needed.”
The government welcomed the coalition’s campaign. It did not rule out creating a Post Bank but said more research is needed.