Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge, has branded the Government’s consultation regarding the franchising of Cambridge Crown Post Office a “sham“ following the receipt of a reply to his letter to Small Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst MP.
Mr Zeichner wrote to the Minister in March, outlining his concern regarding the current Post Office’s accessibility in comparison to accessibility of the postal services if they were moved to WH Smith, staff wages, and the extra services such as Biometric and International Driving Permits offered by the Crown Post Office, but not offered in WH Smith stores with postal services.
The Minister’s reply, received this week, explained that “ The aim of the consultation process is not to seek a mandate for franchising. This is because changes to the management of a Post Office to one that is operated by a retail partner rather than Post Office Limited directly is a commercial decision for the Post Office to make as an independent business. lnstead, the consultation process seeks to inform customers, local MPs, councillors, local press, and other interested parties, of the Post Office proposal and to allow the public to inform their plans.“
Daniel Zeichner comments: “The Minister’s response highlights the lack of respect that the Government – and the Conservatives – have for the public. They are aiming to drag out this process to reduce accountability, and not actually listen to the people that the Post Office should serve. The Minister says that the consultation is simply to inform the public; this suggests that she is not planning to listen to the concerns of Cambridge residents. Well – we will make our voices heard regardless. . A high street post office is part of the essential fabric of a place, while our high streets are under threat from austerity and technological change.We will not stop fighting to keep our high street Crown Post Office open, so that everyone can access these vital services.“