Post Office Future

6 March 2007


 

The future of Lismore’s award winning Post office is in the balance. Sub Postmaster David Wilson and  Postwoman Alison Maclean, as well as the entire island, are holding their breath and hoping that the Trade and Industry Secretary, Alistair Darling, is not planning to include it on his list of 4000 post offices he intends to axe. Darling is focussed on profit and says that e mailing, internet banking etc have meant that the Post Office is losing core business all the time. He will announce the list some time in March.

 

There are 14000 rural post offices and only a small proportion are in profit. David tells me that Lismore is not on one of the exempted postcodes and neither is it ever going to make a profit with such a small population. But islanders totally rely on it for a great spread of reasons: it's a place to bank, to shop by mail, to pay bills and much much more. The reality is that it is the hub of the island, an essential community service and this should be on the balance sheet somewhere, and, despite what Darling says, without it Lismore would lose the equivalent of a vital organ. For businesses it would be catastrophic if they had to travel to the mainland to trade. And of course the Post Office draws people into the shop and helps makes that essential island business viable.

 

The Post Bus is a separate enterprise run by Royal Mail with a subsidy from Argyll and Bute. Alison not only delivers the mail but also has the school bus contract. The Post Bus can also take tourists on its route which it does often in the Summer. The two businesses run in tandem.

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