Citizens Advice calls on government to commit funding for post offices
A new report from Citizens Advice shows people in rural areas are more likely than their urban counterparts to depend on their local post office for key services, including postal services, banking, collecting state benefits, pensions and purchasing household goods.
As the number of pubs, banks and shops decline across England, the charity is calling on government to commit to continued funding of these crucial community institutions.
The government’s decision on funding the postal network, including important rural services, has not yet been confirmed following a public consultation from December 2016.
As the statutory watchdog for postal consumers, Citizens Advice is calling on government to publish its consultation response and commit appropriate funding for the next three years to ensure rural post offices remain open.
As other public spaces dwindle in rural areas, a poll of over 800 rural residents found a over a quarter of people rely on their local post office for learning about local events and services.
The survey also found 1 in 5 people said they would lose contact with neighbours or friends if it wasn’t for their local post office. This was particularly important for people over 65 years old, people with a disability, carers and those who are digitally excluded.
Small businesses also rely on post offices more in rural areas with 7 out of 10 anticipating they would have higher costs without their post office and 8 out of 10 says it would take more time.
Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:
“With pubs and banks closing up shop in many rural areas, post offices remain crucial community institutions. This is especially true for vulnerable groups like older people, people with a disability, carers and those who do not have access or the skills to use the internet.
“That is why we’re calling on the government to ensure vulnerable groups are protected by confirming funding for the postal network, including crucial rural post offices.”
Notes to editors
- Citizens Advice is the statutory watchdog for postal services.We represent consumers of postal services. Our post team provides policy advice and delivers strategic projects that contribute to improving the operation of the postal market and the postal universal service for all consumers. We also ensure consumer needs are represented in decisions on the future of the post office network, at both a strategic and branch level.
- You can read more in the report Rural Post Office Use.
- The Citizens Advice service comprises a network of local Citizens Advice, all of which are independent charities, the Citizens Advice consumer service and national charity Citizens Advice. Together we help people resolve their money, legal and other problems by providing information and advice and by influencing policymakers. For more see the Citizens Advice website.
- The advice provided by the Citizens Advice service is free, independent, confidential and impartial, and available to everyone regardless of race, gender, disability, sexual orientation, religion, age or nationality.
- To get advice online or find your local Citizens Advice in England and Wales, visit citizensadvice.org.uk
- You can get consumer advice from the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 04 05 06 or 03454 04 05 05 for Welsh language speakers.
- Local Citizens Advice in England and Wales advised 2.5 million clients on 6.2 million problems in 2014/15. For full service statistics see our publication Advice trends.
- Citizens Advice service staff are supported by more than 21,000 trained volunteers, working at over 2,500 service outlets across England and Wales.