Published date : 10 Feb 2021

Concern as local communities lose access to essential services during the Covid-19 pandemic

Mid Fife and Glenrothes MSP, Jenny Gilruth, is calling on the Tory Westminster Government to invest more in the Post Office network to protect and revive local services following a series of local branch closures.

The Carleton Post Office based in the Spar store in Woodside closed on 30 January – the latest in a series of recent Post Office closures, which includes Pitteuchar, Cadham, Markinch and Leslie. 

The Chief Executive of CJ Lang, who operate the Bighty Avenue Spar, explained that they are withdrawing post office services to concentrate on their core business and no redundancies will be made.

Post Office services have now returned to Cadham in a new home – Hammy’s Convenience Store. The town’s MSP was able to assist the store’s owners as they engaged with Post Office Ltd through a protracted application process. 

However, there have been no expressions of interest to bring post office services back permanently to Pitteuchar, Markinch or Leslie. A weekly mobile post office service visits Leslie and it is hoped a Markinch visit can begin soon. Mobile services should only be seen as a temporary solution as having a fixed, full time Post Office presence would better meet the needs of our local communities.

Responding to the latest local Post Office closure, Jenny Gilruth MSP said:

“The withdrawal of vital post office services in Woodside is a blow for the local community. I’ve been in touch with the Post Office directly to press them on their plans to restore services to the area. It is clear that the current approach is no longer working for our local communities. 

“In November, the Post Office welcomed the outcome of the Tory Westminster Government’s spending review, which included a £50 million subsidy and £177 million for them to invest in the network. It is becoming increasingly clear, however, that this funding is not reaching our local communities and has fallen far short of the support needed for new and existing postmasters to take on and retain the franchise.

“A lack of political leadership from the Tories in Westminster on this issue, like so many others, means that thousands of my constituents in Mid Fife and Glenrothes are losing access to essential services during the Covid-19 pandemic. It’s time for the Tory government to work with Post Office Limited’s management to refocus their business model and properly fund local post office services.”

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