SAVE OUR POST OFFICES: THE LAST PUSH

August 8, 2008 11:15 PM

Liberal Democrats from across Newcastle have come together for one final push to save nine of Newcastle's post offices - just days before their future is decided.

The Lib Dems gathered at Walbottle village Post Office - one of the nine threatened with the axe - having collected more than 1,000 signatures from local people opposing the closures.

At Walbottle the petitions and many letters of protest - all collected since the nine closures were announced six weeks ago - were posted in order that they reach Post Office Ltd by August 11, the deadline for the end of the public consultation.

Newcastle MEP Fiona Hall, who was among the protestors gathered at Walbottle, said: "Posting these 1, 000 signatures today has been an appropriate way we can show Post Office Ltd that people in Newcastle want their post office services to stay open.

"Many local people need, and in some cases depend on their post offices."

Ron Beadle, Parliamentary spokesman for Newcastle North, added: "The way the consultation works is that at the end of all this, even if one of the 'Newcastle nine' post offices are saved, another post office - not necessarily on the current target list - will be forced to close in its place.

"It is a frustrating catch 22 and just shows that the past six weeks have been nothing more than a sham consultation."

The branches facing closure are:

:: Clayton Road

:: Howard Street

:: Kenton Road

:: Union Society

:: Walkerville

:: Brunswick Village

:: Garden Village

:: Walbottle

:: West Denton

Under the Labour Government plans more than 2,500 post offices across the country face being shut - despite public outcry - and many more closed under the Conservatives.

The Liberal Democrat plan to save the Post Office network would see £2 billion invested.

Recently a motion was proposed in the House of Commons demanding the Government halt their plans to make 2,500 branches shut up shop.

Newcastle Labour MPs Doug Henderson, Nick Brown and Jim Cousins voted against the motion and backed the closure programme.

:: To contact Post Office Ltd please see www.postoffice.co.uk/networkchange or telephone 08457 22 33 44 or email consultation@postoffice.co.uk.