Tuesday, October 02, 2007

One in five post offices in Gateshead to close under Labour

LIBERAL Democrats in Gateshead are warning that one in five local post offices will close if Labour wins a snap general election.

Labour have drawn up plans to close a fifth of all post offices. The plans were announced by government ministers earlier this year but as yet, they have not said which branches will be axed in the Gateshead area. However, the rolling programme of closures has already been announced for elsewhere.

Gateshead Liberal Democrats have been campaigning against Labour’s closure plans and have already collected 0ver 3000 signatures on their petition calling for branches to stay open.

Councillor Jonathan Wallace said, “Post offices are vital to local communities but under Labour they have been closing at an alarming rate. In the past five years alone, branches have been closed in Swalwell, Bleach Green, Dunston and Chowdene.

“Earlier this year Labour ministers announced they are planning to close 2500 branches in addition to the 4000 they have already axed since they came to power. And these are on top of the 3500 closed by the last Conservative government.

“But so far they have not announced which branches will be closed in Gateshead. If there is a snap general election this autumn, Labour will be storing up the bad news until after people have gone to the polls.

“Liberal Democrats are campaigning to keep post offices open but we are calling on Labour to publish their hit list of branches they want to close before the election is called.

“Our communities have suffered already from Labour’s previous post office closures. Now that Labour are demanding more closures, residents of Gateshead have a right to know which communities will lose their branches. Labour should end the secrecy around its hit list.”

Gateshead Liberal Democrats travelled to party conference in Brighton in September to meet Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Lembit Öpik MP, to discuss Labour’s plans for post office closures.

Photo: Jonathan Wallace meets Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Lembit Öpik MP, at the recent party conference to discuss Labour’s post office closure plans.

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