Post offices dread’

MORALE among village postmasters in Huntingdonshire, already low because of the Government s plans to phase out the Post Office Card Account, is set to plummet yet further. The smallest village post offices are now at greatest risk when the Government ann

MORALE among village postmasters in Huntingdonshire, already low because of the Government's plans to phase out the Post Office Card Account, is set to plummet yet further.

The smallest village post offices are now at greatest risk when the Government announces, probably tomorrow (Thursday), how much it will give the Royal Mail after 2008.

Huntingdon's MP, Jonathan Djanogly, said this week: "I'm very concerned and I'm dreading the notification. The smaller post offices serve a very important social function."

In Hemingford Grey, which faced closure of its post office three years ago, the church stepped into the breach. The office is now in St James's church hall, the sub-postmaster is the vicar Rev Peter Cunliffe.


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After the announcement of the decision to phase out the account card, which is used by 4.5million of the country's 60million inhabitants, Mr Djanogly wrote to all 25 sub-postmasters in the constituency.

Those who responded believed the loss of the income associated with the card would inevitably lead to closures.

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Several sub-postmasters felt that they may have to give up their businesses as a result of the decision, Mr Djanogly said.

Business leaders are fearful of the effect post office closures would have on small companies, 94 per cent of whom use Royal Mail and say competitors are not interested in small companies.

Malcolm Lyons, Huntingdonshire chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, which represents many of the 10,000 small firms and sole traders in the area, said: "Such decisions could spell disaster for the UK economy."

A spokesman for consumer watchdog, Postwatch, said the number of closures was unlikely to be as high as the most pessimistic predictions.

He said: "Nationally, 1,500 offices get fewer than 50 visits a week.

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