The announcement that Post Office Ltd is to look at franchising the Crown Post Office on Morningside Road is deeply concerning. It is a busy and popular Post Office that provides vital services for the whole community and local businesses. The proposed closure and franchise will cost jobs and result in a decrease in important local services.
The Government has forced a 'transformation programme' on the Post Office that has put Crown Post Offices and local branches in jeopardy. As the former Shadow Minister for Postal Affairs, I know the experience of franchising across the country is that they have fewer services delivered by significantly fewer staff. There are also no alternative plans when franchising fails but closure.
The only independent report carried out on franchising found that the Crown office closure and franchising programme has been bad for customers. This ranked franchises worse than Crowns for:
• Queue times
• Service times (transactions take longer)
• Customer service/advice on the appropriate products
• Disabled access
• The number of counter positions (and counter positions which are staffed)
Closing down flagship branches and getting rid of experienced staff is not a plan for growth or innovation which customers in Morningside and across the country want to see.
The Post Office should be working with their crown branches to make them more efficient and profitable prior to taking the decision to franchise and dilute services for local people.
Furthermore, the Post Office has spent money re-furbishing the Crown offices it is now closing and franchising. On the 59 Crown offices it announced it would close and franchise in 2016, the Post Office spent £5.9m on refurbishing them since 2010, an average of £100,000 per branch. Some branches far exceed this – Paisley has had £439,000 spent on it.
We also know the Post Office also spends money on converting the premises of the franchisee to install a post office counter though it has refused to disclose publicly how much money it has given to retailers like WHSmiths for this.
I oppose the potential closure and franchising of Morningside Crown Post Office and will be campaigning hard to ensure Post Office Ltd and the Conservative Government listen to local people and put a stop to this process.
Sign this petition to say you oppose the closure and franchising of Morningside Crown Post Office as it will mean worse services for customers, the loss of good jobs, and the loss of a long-standing and well used community asset which provides a vital service to local people and supports local businesses.