Friday, November 30, 2007

The LibDems Last Post

The final motion of the last full council meeting was one that we could all agree to. The LibDems sought to protect our post offices from the next round of closures due in 2008. After the next 2500 sites have closed, one-third of the entire network will have closed down in the last decade.

There are only two public "servants" that earn more than an eye-watering £900,000. Both work for Royal Mail. These are the people that have denied communities a vital lifeline in closing so many sub-post offices, they oversaw the ill-fated rebranding to "Consignia" increased the cost of stamps considerably and got rid of the second delivery of post.

I have written before about the politics of envy. I don't begrudge anyone earning a considerable amount of money if they can demonstrate their worth. The postal service has been decimated by the direction of the company under guidance from the government.

There was one main problem with the debate. Royal Mail is still losing money hand over fist. They will not change their minds just because politicians stamp their feet. Paul Burstow and Tom Brake have not stopped the closure of a single post office in Sutton over the last decade, in fact Paul Burstow has managed to lose the entire postal town of Cheam in that time. We need to push for alternatives that will allow the post office to be profitable whilst still remaining open for the vulnerable in our society. I suggested a few ideas including one that the Council can do now.

At a time when Sutton Council is cutting back on the opening hours of its Cash Hall, why not have a Council one-stop shop in some of the sub-post offices. This will enable people to access council services without having to travel to Sutton.

Anyway, the final result was a lot of wringing of hands. The motion was agreed as we all want to protect our services. However, there were no further ideas on what to do next apart from start another petition. I suspect the same methods may bring the same results.


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, Cllr Scully, you still haven't grasped the real reason why Post Offices are closing down in the volume they are.

It's an EU directive that is closing down our Post Offices. The government, nor the Tory opposition can do anything about it. Suggest you read up on it, then make a comment. Until we leave the EU there isn't a thing you can do or comment on.

Unknown said...

This is a simplistic UKIP argument. I agree, the EU Directive certainly does put massive pressure on the Royal Mail. It calls for the liberalisation of our postal service which has a knock-on effect. It doesn't specifically say that we need to decimate our post office network. This is only as a result of some poor thinking by the government. There are other options that we can try to reduce the closures by ensuring that our post offices can offer other services, advice desks, council desks for example. We could also allow them to work with other carriers, not just the Royal Mail. There is action that we can take now.

By stamping our feet hoping that we will leave the EU, you are doing the same as the LibDems who hope to see action as a result of furrowing their brows.

I'm surprised that Sutton's UKIP councillor didn't make this point during the debate when he had the chance.

Anonymous said...

10 years the two Liberal MPs have been going on and on about post offices. And they've been closing continuously for 10 years.

Totally ineffective.

Anonymous said...

One would imagine that as an ostensibly right wing neoliberal party UKIP would be in favour of anything that liberalises the market place for such services.

This is somewhat typically muddled thinking from a rather unimpressive minor single issue party.

It is regrettable that our Post Offices are dying out, but they must diversify if they are to survive. No business has a right to exist, regardless of the services it provides, it must be financially viable.

Labour doesn't understand this - as it only thinks problems can be solved from the public sector and by pumping eye-watering amounts of taxpayers money into doomed projects. Northern Rock is a fine example of this. Why should the taxpayer have to bolster a failed private company?

The Liberal Democrats can't make their mind up if they are a social democratic party tied to a mixed economic model, or a free market liberal party committed to private sector solutions rather than increased state interference.

As usual, whatever UKIP says is quite irrelevant.

In my view it is only the Conservative Party that understands business, the proper limitations of state involvement, and the role of markets. At a local level the Tories can fight this corner, rather than the fairly ineffective populism that the two Lib Dem MPs have favoured.