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PO closures a threat to firms’

SMALL businesses will face even more problems if the Government allows any more post offices to be closed in Solihull, says the chairman of Warwickshire and Coventry branch of the Federation of Small Businesses.

SMALL businesses will face even more problems if the Government allows any more post offices to be closed in Solihull, says the chairman of Warwickshire and Coventry branch of the Federation of Small Businesses.

He was speaking as plans went before Parliament yesterday to part privatise the Royal Mail.

Bruce Undy says further closures would have a negative effect on local companies, adding that post offices provide a vital lifeline to small companies.

Last year four post offices in Solihull – Berkswell, Olton Hollow, Catherine de Barnes and Haslucks Green Road branch in Shirley were axed.

Mr Undy, whose branch covers Solihull, Shirley and Coleshill, said: “We have already seen more than 2,500 post offices shut over the last year and any more closures will have an even more damaging effect.

“Post offices are small businesses in their own right and are at the heart of many communities.

“Over 80 per cent of small businesses said that if their post office closes, it would have a significant impact on their business.”

A survey carried out by the FSB among 5,300 of its members conducted between February 12 and 24 found 80 per cent of respondents said they depended on the service to post letters and deal with their affairs, with 47 per cent stating they visited a branch a couple of times a week.

Closures are already thought to have had a detrimental effect on small businesses, with 20 per cent complaining that post handling takes longer because queues are longer and 17 per cent saying they had to travel further because their local branch had closed.

An estimated 48 per cent of those questioned said they wanted Royal Mail to remain in state ownership while 27 per cent said they would consider part privatisation only if it prevented further closures.

Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the business secretary Lord Mandelson are planning to push ahead with the part sale of the company to a foreign buyer des­pite opposition from 120 Labour MPs.

 

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