ACRE has welcomed the Government’s announcement of £20m funding boost for post offices that serve remote, rural communities.
These 3,000 outlets are usually the ‘last shop in the village’ and are vital to the communities they serve.
However, because they serve fewer people, they generate less income and more support is needed for those who run them.
“It is important that the needs of rural communities are met and post offices provide two vital functions – they allow access to a range of essential services and serve as an important social hub."
ACRE chief executive Janice Banks said: “We are pleased that the Government has recognised the need to provide these essential outlets with the financial support they need. We are also encouraged that the aim of this new funding is to enable the improvement and modernisation of these branches, which will help make them more viable businesses.
“It is important that the needs of rural communities are met and post offices provide two vital functions – they allow access to a range of essential services and serve as an important social hub.
“However the Government and Post Office Limited need to make clear what will happen to rural post offices that do not meet the criteria for ‘community’ status.
“The Government has stated that there are 3,000 post offices that are unsustainable under current arrangements but has announced funding for only 2,000 community post offices.
“We also want to know if branches that have already converted to a Post Office Local, but are not viable financially, will be able to become community post offices. We are seeking further details on these issues.”