Monday, 18 August 2008

Post Offices

The past few days have been a whirlwind of activity - as I do my bit to help save the 5 Post Offices threatened with closure across Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East.

The 5 Post Offices - Banton, Kildrum, Queenzieburn, Rosebank and Waterside - have all been earmarked for closure and there are a whole range of campaign activities taking place to try and save them.

For my part, I have decided to compile responses to the Post Office consultations on the proposed closures. After all, I have had a lot of professional experience responding to consultations on behalf of organisations - so I should put the skills to good use.

I've distributed surveys in all the communities affected, and asked people to write back to tell me exactly how the closure would impact on them personally, as well as the wider community. I'm then going to include all the personal testimony I receive back from local residents in my response to the Post Office. Hopefully, this will strengthen the case against closure of these vital services because it will help demonstrate the consequences of the loss of our local Post Offices.

The more that we can bombard the Post Office with the better.

Of course, these proposals didn't appear from thin air. They are a direct result of decisions taken by the Labour Government at Westminster. Of course, the local Labour politicians are throwing their hands up in horror at the proposed closures. The hypocrisy. People have tried explaining to them, via the letters page of the local papers, that it is their OWN PARTY that is ultimately responsible - but that doesn't stop them from circulating petitions and the like with their names at the top. And we wonder why people are cynical about politics. Well, I give you exhibit A.

I have spoken to many local residents about these proposed closures, and they are in no doubt about who is ultimately to blame. Yet again, we have Labour politicians campaigning against the decisions of their own party. When will the penny drop? If they disagree so much with their own Government, why are they even in the Labour Party?

Anyway, that doesn't stop me from supporting every effort in my area to save these Post Offices. We only have until 1 September to respond to the consultation, but there is plenty planned in the meantime to keep the pressure on.

The most common thing that people have said to me in these 5 areas is - 'what will the old folk do?' Indeed, what will our elderly residents do in these areas? If these Post Offices go, it doesn't just mean that some people will be inconvenienced by having to travel further - they really will be stuck. We cannot let this happen to some of the most vulnerable and isolated members of our society. I spoke to a lady in her nineties yesterday who already struggles to get to her local Post Office in Banton. If that closes, there is just no way she would be able to get to Kilsyth to pick up her pension.

And what of the Post Offices that haven't been earmarked for closure? Well, if those set for closure do go, then the pressure on those left will be immense.

It just doesn't make sense.

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