Saturday, December 09, 2006
Sell the damned post offices!
So the Royal Mail wants to close around half of all post offices. The Daily Telegraph has a ridiculous campaign to force taxpayers to pay to keep them open. Uneconomic post offices cost everyone else £150 million a year in subsidies, but as I have written before, they are so "core" to communities, that I apparently have to subsidise them.
My answer is simple. The Royal Mail should sell all of the post offices it does not believe it can run profitably. If some are franchises, then the current owners should renegotiate their terms or face closure, and perhaps run a competing service (competition has been allowed for the Royal Mail since the beginning of the year, finally!). Otherwise, they should close. Why? Well what is a post office? It is a stamp shop, an envelope shop, a delivery shop. It's a friggin' shop!
People don't demand the government do something about grocers, bookshops, shoe shops, so why post offices? It tugs at the strings of the elderly in particular, when the government did so much more, and when transport was poor and more expensive than it is today.
Post offices are unprofitable either because they are inefficiently run or not enough people use it. So either have someone else run it, or face use it or lose it. Don't expect taxpayers to pay for something that is so important to your community, that you're not prepared to use it enough to pay for its cost. Frankly, if it isn't important enough for YOU to pay for it, don't expect me to.