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September 2, 2008 7:00 PM
Lib Dems outside Walbottle Post Office

Newcastle Liberal Democrats are angry that Labour has closed nine of the city's Post Offices despite residents' protests

The axe today fell on nine of Newcastle's Post Offices despite hard-fought campaigns by local residents to keep them open.

Thousands of people held public meetings, signed petitions and wrote letters protesting at the decision by Post Office Ltd to close the local branches.

The closures in Newcastle are part of the Labour Government's programme to shut 2,500 Post Offices nationwide.

There was also shock at the announcement that a six-week consultation has begun on the future of St Anthony's Post Office in Walker. This Post Office is facing closure because a branch has been saved in Blaydon.

Newcastle's Labour MPs, Doug Henderson, Nick Brown and Jim Cousins, had the chance to halt the closure programme during a vote in the House of Commons but instead supported the Government and rejected the opposition motion.

Ron Beadle, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary spokesman for Newcastle North, said: "More than 1,000 people signed a Liberal Democrat petition to keep our Post Offices open.

"But yet again the Labour Government is showing how is has stopped listening to local people in Newcastle.

"The loss of these nine branches will hit communities in Newcastle hard.

"Post Offices are vital assets for many local people and these closures will cause difficulties, particularly for older people and those with mobility problems."

Under Labour, thousands of Post Offices have already closed, while under the Conservatives 3,500 post offices were axed.

Ron Beadle added: "Newcastle's Labour MPs had the perfect opportunity in Parliament to show their support for Post Offices.

"Instead they put the Labour Party before the people of Newcastle and voted with their Government to back the closure programme."

The Liberal Democrats have a plan that would save the Post Office network.

"We would invest £2 billion through public shared ownership, which would revitalise the network and keep open a vital local service for millions of people across the UK," said Ron.

The Post Offices that will close are:

:: Clayton Road

:: Howard Street

:: Kenton Road

:: Union Society

:: Walkerville

:: Brunswick Village

:: Garden Village

:: Walbottle

:: West Denton