UK to Shut down 20% of Post Offices

May 17th, 2007, 08:34 AM
  #1  
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UK to Shut down 20% of Post Offices


Unions are hopping mad, but the government says the losses just keep getting bigger.

What should be done? Maybe put them in or next to pubs? Do you use them much?


http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070517...t_070517140358
degas is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 08:41 AM
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too bad for tourists as there are so many usually South Asian operated news agents which have post offices in them that it's always easy to buy postcard stamps.

not so in much of Europe these days it seems where post offices are sporadic at least in tourist areas.
PalenQ is online now  
May 17th, 2007, 08:51 AM
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I'm curious: do people in the UK get much junk mail? We get an armload of catalogs, often two or three of the same one, credit card solicitations (often emblazoned "OFFICIAL BUSINESS! TO BE OPENED SOLELY BY THE RECIPIENT!"), ad flyers, and all kinds of other junk every day; it's easily 75% of our mail by weight.

There are conflicting claims that the junk subsidizes first class mail, or vice versa. No one really knows for sure.

Also, the American post makes a considerable part of its income on parcels, despite the prevalence of Fed Ex and UPS and others. Is this as prominent in the UK?

Is it just the facilities that are a drain? I've been in quite a few British post offices that were pretty deserted. What do people go to them for? Do you still get your dole checks there as well? Is it just stamps? I can see where it would be difficult to sustain a business whose main product sells for pennies and is mostly vended by hand.
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May 17th, 2007, 08:53 AM
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seems like a lot of Brits also pay some kind of bills or fees at post offices, which also act as GIRO banks. what the heck does GIRO mean? Government Insured R Office)
PalenQ is online now  
May 17th, 2007, 09:00 AM
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Adapt or go under. If there is a pound to be made, somebody will step in eventually and make it.
degas is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 09:18 AM
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Most post offices are "sub post offices" which are franchised, generally combining post office business with a general shop. It is many of these which are to be closed.
Post offices provide many services, including issuing car licences and selling foreign currency, but much of their traditional work, such as paying old-age pensions, is now done electronically directly into bank accounts.
Some shops sell stamps for ordinary letters, but if you're sending a letter or postcard outside the UK, you'll need to find a post office to buy stamps.
GeoffHamer is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 09:32 AM
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Closure will affect main (used to be called Crown) post offices too. They are developing a partnership with book-, magazine- and stationery seller WH Smiths to site some main offices within their stores.
The fact is, post offices are losing money, as many people now use internet and telephone banking and pay bills by direct bank transfer (direct debit). Stamps are on sale in many stores, and you can even print your own after registering with Royal Mail. I personally only go to a post office when handing in recorded or registered mail (no alternative).
Alec is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 09:33 AM
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This will hit the elderly, many of whom still do not have bank accounts and collect their pensions from the Post Office. And for whom that also is a vital social function. One more step away from rural life as it was.
anchoress is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 09:58 AM
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Without wishing to be overly political, the Post office was doomed when the government allowed private companies to "Cherry pick" deliveries.

Under the old system, a first class stamp on a letter posted in London paid for "next day" delivery (supposedly) to anywhere in the UK.

The 30% profit that the PO made on the numerous London to London letters paid for the occasional delivery to he outer Hebrides (that costs about 200 times the cost of a stamp). With the privatizing the profitable routes, the PO is left with all the expensive deliveries, and nothing to subsidize them. This is an oversimplification.

I also feel sorry for elderly people in remote villages who have no banks, no internet, no bus services and soon no post office/corner shop.
willit is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 10:04 AM
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<The 30% profit that the PO made on the numerous London to London letters paid for the occasional delivery to he outer Hebrides (that costs about 200 times the cost of a stamp). With the privatizing the profitable routes, the PO is left with all the expensive deliveries, and nothing to subsidize them. This is an oversimplification.>

substitute British Rail for post office and it's the same as what the Torries did to the railways in Thatcher Hatchet years.
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May 17th, 2007, 10:07 AM
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The division of Royal Mail that runs post offices used to get about 70-80% of its income from things that had nothing to do mail: the commission on handing out pensions, processing passports, managing driving licences and doing similasr things for other organisations.

Post offices are a nuisance to the government-owned mail business, which gets most of its revenue from selling direct to businesses, or by selling consumers stamps through third-psarty retailers.

But privately-operated post offices (asnd all but 600 or so ARE privately operated) are vital to many poor peole's lifestyles, and to the survival of many marginal shopping areas. Take the traffic that goes to the post office in my Citswold town away, and the town cemntre will collapse as a shopping location: the buildings will turn into houses overnight.

So why is the government closing them? Well, here's the secret B Liar doesn't like to mention. And here's why.

The serious loss-makers in the network are the 600 or so government-owned ones. Riddled with union-dictated inflexible manning (They may look short of staff,but you should see the gangs of lunch-takers in the back), prevented by dogmatic governments from doing the things privately-operated post offices do to get extra income, overpaid and wrongly located, the Post Office was in the process of turning them into viable private businesses - in the teeth of opposition from the unions (leader: one Alan Johnson)

Till B Liar came to power. Stopped the restructure - thus guaranteeing the Post Office would lose even more money. Invented the nastiest stealth tax of all: he forced pensioners and the unemployed to have their benefits paid into bank accounts. So how do they now get cash to pay their daily nills? By paying £1 or £1.50 to the ATM in the post office for each transaction. Because the poorest people in Britain can't get to free ATMs.

The government has, in effect, transferred the subsidy the Tories paid 18,000 small, vital business in vulnerable locations to make sure benefits got into poor people's hands into a compulsory tax on benefits.

And who was the doughtiest fighter to keep these loss-making, government-run post offices going while the ones people need are being destroyed? Former post office union leader Alan Johnson. Now transformed from socialist fighter for people's rights to arch-Bliarite MP.

And the bookies' favourite to become Labour party deputy leader.

When Iraq is almost forgotten (as ill-conceived foreign adventures always are eventually) 2,000 destroyed village shopping centres will be B Liar's real legacy.
flanneruk is offline  
May 17th, 2007, 10:13 AM
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If i were a village shop then i'd been stupid not to pay to support the post offices that are unprofitable - a shop owners society could tax itself to keep the post offices open - not to do so would be daft if the closings were really to put them out of business.

or better yet step in to provide the largely non mail services that post offices currently provide - all the things you say they do for stranded elderly could be done by the shops associations.

but unfortunately the stream of elderly into shopping areas rarely translates in any viable commercial activity - adult nappies aside.
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