ACS Gives Evidence on Future of Post Office Network

ACS has given evidence to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy select committee outlining the challenges to the future of the Post Office Network and the convenience retailers that host them.

In a one-off evidence session of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee’s inquiry into the Post Office network, ACS urged the committee to consider the impact of increasing wage costs and changing consumer shopping habits.

Speaking during the evidence session, ACS head of policy and public affairs Edward Woodall said: “Convenience stores are increasingly becoming hubs for both products and services, and the Post Office is one of those services that customers really value. Convenience store retailers cannot be expected to subsidise the network, the Government and Post Office must understand the cost pressures faced by retailers and respond. ”

The 2018 Local Shop Report shows that around one in four convenience stores in the UK (23%) offer Post Office services. Findings from ACS’ Community Barometer show that the Post Office is rated as the local service that has the most positive impact on an area, followed by convenience stores which were rated as the second most positive.

Mr Woodall continued: “There’s a lot of restructuring in retail and changing habits about how consumers access products and services, but the fundamentals are that the cost base of convenience retailing has changed. Employment costs are increasing beyond 4% annually making it really challenging to run some services in certain locations profitably.”

The Committee’s inquiry is examining issues related to the network such as the franchising of Post Offices, the reduction of Government subsidies, and the long-term resilience of the service.

Other contributors to the evidence session included the Post Office, the National Federation of Subpostmasters, the Communication Workers Union and Citizens Advice.

This entry was posted by Chloe on Tue, 21/05/2019 - 12:46