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Two Post Offices lost every week finds Citizens Advice

28 January 2022

New Citizens Advice analysis reveals 206 post offices have closed in the last two years, the equivalent of two closing each week. The consumer watchdog for the postal sector warns of a wave of post office closures across the country. 

Further analysis of Post Office data reveals:

  • 1,291 Post Offices are currently deemed ‘temporarily closed’, but almost six in ten of these have been shut for more than two years

  • One in three rural post offices are now offered as part-time outreach services, open for an average of just five and a half hours a week. 

  • Thirteen percent (totalling 233) of outreaches are open for only one hour a week, and one outreach the charity found was only open for ten minutes a week

This has led to huge gaps in the service. People have reported to the charity that they now spend more time and money accessing post office services, feel a loss of independence, and even increased isolation since their local office was shut.

One woman who was reliant on the post office for paying bills and topping up her energy meter reported moving house after the local post office shut and she was unable to afford the bus journey to the new one. Shortly after moving house the post office in her new village shut. 

One man came to Citizens Advice as the ninety minute journey to his closest open post office meant he could only travel once a week. As a result he had to save up all his post and bills for one journey, meaning bills became overdue and he was fined by his utility companies.

Research undertaken by Citizens Advice found that certain groups are more reliant on post office services than others. Despite closures, when asked, 18% of people said they still visited their post office weekly. This increased to 23% of those living in rural areas, 27% of carers, 22% of over 65s, and 21% of disabled people.

The charity warns that the Post Office must increase the investment in rural locations to make sure communities across the country maintain connection to vital services.

Dame Clare Moriarty, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“Post offices sit at the centre of our communities. They help many small businesses thrive, stop already isolated communities being cut off entirely, and enable people to carry out essential tasks, like paying bills.

“But they’re at breaking point. We’re currently losing two post offices a week, and outreach services often aren’t an adequate replacement. Maintaining post office investment is crucial or the service will never keep pace with the needs of the communities it’s intended to serve.”

Notes to editors

  1. Citizens Advice new report Gaps in the network is to be published on 28 January 2022.

  2. Based on Post Office Ltd data as of the 30th September 2019 and the 30th September 2021. Calculation based on the increase in the overall number of temporary closures across GB between these dates (206) divided by number of weeks in two years (104).

  3. Citizens Advice analysis at a GB level of data provided by Post Office Ltd as of the end of September 2021.

  4. Citizens Advice commissioned Yonder Data Solutions to undertake a telephone survey of 4,015 GB adults. Fieldwork was undertaken in two waves between 7 and 28 February 2021, and 2 and 18 August 2021. The survey examined how often people use post offices and which Post Office services they use.

  5. Citizens Advice is made up of the national charity Citizens Advice; the network of independent local Citizens Advice charities across England and Wales; the Citizens Advice consumer service; and the Witness Service.

  6. Our network of charities offers impartial advice online, over the phone, and in person, for free. 

  7. We helped 2.4 million people face to face, over the phone, by email and webchat in 2020-21. And we had 40 million visits to our website. For full service statistics see our monthly publication Advice trends.

  8. Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 2,600 service outlets across England and Wales.

  9. You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 0808 223 1133 or 0808 223 1144 for Welsh language speakers.