Grahame Morris MP

Member of Parliament for Easington

CWU/YOUGOV POLL CONFIRMS SERIOUS UNEASE ABOUT THE FUTURE OF THE HIGH STREET

March 13, 2019 Press Releases 0

On 11 October 2018, it was announced that 74 Crown post offices would be privatised to WHSmith. This is just one of several announcements over the years to close and privatise our post offices and the Communication Workers Union believes it amounts to a determined effort to end our post office network.

In response to this, the CWU commissioned a poll with YouGov on the future of the high street and the privatisation of Crown post offices. These figures are released on the day that the CWU will be presenting over 92,000-strong petition at 10 Downing Street demanding an end to this programme of privatisation.

The headline figures of the poll show that:

* 68% are more worried about the future of the high street today compared to five years ago compared to 3% who are less worried

* 81% have seen the closure of shops and services on their local high street over the past 5 years compared to 5% who have not

* Just 12% of respondents support the programme of privatisation

* 60% agree that a local community should have the power to veto the privatisation of a publicly owned post office in their local area, compared to 8% who do not

The results of this poll commissioned by the CWU clearly demonstrate growing unease about the future of the high street and firm opposition to the privatisation agenda within the Post Office.

Commenting on the results of this polling, Grahame Morris said “The Government strategy of managed decline means services have suffered, affecting the most vulnerable in communities who rely on their high street post office.”

“The next Labour government will end the closures of our Post Offices and give communities the ability to shape their high streets and town centres, by strengthening their powers to protect post offices.’’

CWU General Secretary Dave Ward said: “This polling confirms what many have been talking about over the last few years. Under the Tories we have seen the decline of the British high street, with jobs lost and services closed as the Government fail to get to grips with the changing nature of the world at work.”

“What is also clear is that there is massive support for the CWU campaign to save Post Offices. It is encouraging to see respondents support the idea of a local community having the power to veto the closure of a local branch. There is obviously no support for the privatisation agenda and overwhelming support for our aim to create a new service within the Post Office – a Post Bank – that would serve the needs of the local community.”

“It is high time that the Government listened to the results of this polling, pulled their finger out, and got to work in resuscitating the high street. No more closures, no more privatisation

and no more outsourcing of good jobs and local public servants. This is just the beginning of our campaign to protect the Post Office and the wider British high street.”

Further to this, Andy Furey, Assistant Secretary, commented: “The British public are clearly concerned about the backdoor privatisation of our publicly owned Crown Post Offices to a private company such as WH Smith, which has been voted the worst or second worst retailer on the high street for 8 consecutive years.

The professional service afforded by Crown Office staff who have many years of experience is being replaced with an inferior service by inexperienced staff working on a counter which is stuck at the back or sometimes in the basement of a WH Smith store with reduced accessibility.

Also, of grave concern is the serious misuse of public money to fund this privatisation and to prop up an ailing business – over £30m of taxpayers’ money is being used to pay off our members with a settlement agreement, thus creating a TUPE avoidance position.”