A leader in The Daily Telegraph praises Essex County Council’s plan to put aside £1.5m of council taxpayers’ money to save fifteen endangered post offices:
"To those who say council tax revenues should not be used to prop up ailing enterprises, we would argue it is better that they be invested in this way than squandered on some of the inessentials that beguile too many local authorities, such as PR flummery or twinning junkets. The value of a post office to a community cannot be calculated on a dry profit-and-loss ledger; many are an invaluable part of the local social infrastructure. How heartening that a growing number of councils recognise this as a cause worth fighting for."
Essex plans to help the post offices become self-sustaining enterprises and does not envisage long-term subsidy.
The Telegraph reports that "dozens" of other local councils are considering following Essex’s lead.
Henry Smith, for example, of West Sussex Council and our candidate in the super-marginal seat of Crawley is considering options:
"We are looking at ways in which we might be able to help protect some of the post offices. What Essex has done is an option we are exploring, but it will be dependent on whether the Post Office will let us look at the books to see if it is viable."
The Telegraph also mentions Leicestershire and Suffolk.
Last week, also in The Telegraph, David Cameron underlined his commitment to post offices:
"Post Offices provide much needed services for millions of vulnerable people in this country, particularly the elderly, and Labour has been closing almost 10 a week since 1997. Post Offices often provide the only community service in rural areas and the strength of public protest against closures is being ignored by this Government."