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Posts Tagged ‘Post Office’

Who’s really profiting from post office’s loss?

August 22, 2015 Leave a comment
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Signed Sealed Delivered: Inside the Post Office

 

I was on the telly last week. It was in episode 3 of the BBC2 series, Signed, Sealed and Delivered: Inside the Post Office, about the occupation of our Crown Post Office on the day the building closed down for redevelopment. A copy exists on YouTube if you want to watch it.

I’m a bit-part player, that’s all. You see me carrying a bucket and then explaining what it will be used for.

The programme also features Hugh Lanning, James Flanagan, and Brian Hitcham; plus the talented Justin Mitchell, playing a moving rendition of the Last Post on his bugle, the lovely Cherry Walker with her hand made sign, and the irrepressible Julie Wassmer doing what she does so well, namely being clever and colourful in front of a camera.

Julie gets a lot of stick from some quarters for being so energetically involved in the protest scene. People call her a self-promoter, but I know from having worked with her, that she is just very adept at manipulating the media and bringing much needed attention to the cause.

In this case the cause is the downgrading of our Crown Post Office service to a franchise in a shop.

Roger Gale, the general manager of the Crown Network, has this to say: “The Post Office holds a place in people’s hearts…. but we have to modernise, we have to change, and we can no longer be a burden on the tax-payer.”

That gave only part of the story.

The real reason that the Post Office has become a “burden to the taxpayer” is that it has been forcibly separated from its historic partner, the very profitable Royal Mail, by that company’s recent sale to the private sector.

As always, it’s a case of privatisation of profit, socialisation of costs. The profit goes to wealthy investors, while the public bears the burden of loss.

Meanwhile, the government continues to support big business through subsidies to the private sector to the tune of £93 billion a year.

In other words, the government is perfectly happy to allow the taxpayer to subsidise loss making companies, as long as those companies don’t belong to the taxpayer.

Categories: The Post Tags: ,

Privatisation making postal service worse

September 8, 2014 Leave a comment
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The post office in Gladstone Road, Whitstable

It seems that the closure of the Gladstone Road Post Office in Whitstable is a foregone conclusion.

In a statement last week Post Office spokesman Cathal Wogan said: “When a preferred franchise partner is identified we will conduct a public consultation.”

“When” not “If”.

You should also note the sequence of events. First they intend to find the partner, and only after that will they allow us a public consultation. There will be no consultation over whether we want a franchised Post Office in the first place.

Our MP, Julian Brazier, says he has no objection to this. “What I do want is to ensure is we continue to have a good postal service in Whitstable,” he tells us.

I wonder if he’s tried Canterbury Post Office since its transfer to WH Smiths?

Anyone who has been there knows that the service is appalling, with the Post Office counter on the first floor, queues down the stairs and long waits to get served.

If that’s the model of what a future Post Office in Whitstable will look like then I say, “No thanks, Mr Brazier, we’ll keep Gladstone Road open if you don’t mind.”

Of course this is all part of the slow downgrading of the Post Office over the generations.

I have a set of CDs of films made by the GPO Film Unit in the 1930s and ‘40s. As some of you may remember, the Post Office was once renowned throughout the world as one of the innovators of documentary film making.

The films show the GPO as a thrusting, forward-thinking organisation largely responsible for the making of modern Britain.

The degradation of the institution began in 1984 with the sell-off of BT. More recently, of course, we’ve seen the privatisation of the Royal Mail and the franchising of counter services.

The trick has been to hive off the profitable parts while keeping the unprofitable parts in the public domain, degrading the whole service in the process.

If you want to know what’s wrong with the UK: there it is, in a nutshell.

Categories: The Post Tags:

Post Office Closures and the Privatisation Agenda

February 20, 2013 Leave a comment
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The post office in Gladstone Road, Whitstable

As you will know by now, the post office in Gladstone Road, Whitstable is about to close.

This will come as no surprise to people who use the facility regularly, as it has been abundantly clear for some time that it is being run down. There are hardly any leaflets available, there are no pens along the counter where the public queue, and nothing seems to be on sale any more. The whole office has a dreary and neglected air.

This is only one of 70 post offices up and down the country that are due to close or to be subsumed as franchises in stores such as WHSmith. Anyone who’s been to the post office in Canterbury will know what this means.

The ostensible reason for this is that the Post Office made a loss of £40 million last year. This is hardly surprising given that most of its main functions have been handed out to private companies.

Actually, the Post Office has never made a profit, unlike the Royal Mail, which always has.

People often get the two mixed up, calling the Royal Mail “the Post Office” and visa versa. In fact, they are two separate organisations, although they were once – along with BT – part of the GPO. Until 1969 the GPO was considered important enough to warrant its own Cabinet Minister.

Not any more. The Royal Mail is due to be privatised in 2014, while the Post Office is being run down ready for closure. BT was sold off many years ago, of course, being the most profitable of the lot.

And this is how the privatising agenda works. The Royal Mail makes a profit, the Post Office doesn’t. By separating the two, keeping the loss making part in public hands, while selling off the profitable part, we are effectively giving a public subsidy to the private sector, allowing them to make their profits at our expense. Privatisation of profit, socialisation of cost.

We are breaking apart one of our most iconic and historic public institutions for the short term gain of a few private individuals.

Categories: The Post Tags: ,

Dear Majesty – A song based on Dear Granny Smith

February 1, 2010 Leave a comment

I wrote this song after listening to the serialisation of Roy Mayall’s book ‘Dear Granny Smith’ on BBC Radio 4 . Also last year I took part in a Market Research day for the Royal Mail and came away dismayed.

So I wrote this song. The lyrics speak for themselves. The song is dedicated to Roy Mayall and all the other Posties who try and do their jobs in very difficult circumstances. The Shadow Kabinet say SAVE THE ROYAL MAIL! Who said the protest song is dead?

Steve Somerset.

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