Since forming in July, SCAPOC has been building support ahead of the closures announcement. The campaign will focus on saving branches but will also press Sheffield City Council to take over the services of branches that will close.
Spokesperson Alistair Tice comments : “”This closure announcement proves that Post Office bosses aren’t listening to the very people that their TV advertisements go on about. The government say they want new policies – well they should put a stop to all closures now. The money is there – the billions used to bail out Northern Rock and the banks would keep all post offices open for 125 years!
Over 8,000 people have already signed petitions in Sheffield opposing closures and privatisation. We intend to fight these plans through the consultation process and by mobilising public opposition. We aim to keep as many branches open as possible. If we don’t put up a fight this time, another 3,000 post offices could close nationally if card accounts go to a private bidder. Anyone who wants to save their local post office or help our campaign should contact SCAPOC on 07706 710041.”
Cllr Bernard Little comments : “I have asked Sheffield Council officers to be prepared to follow the example of Essex County Council. Essex have shown that a local authority can legally provide post office services where access to essential services are at risk and certain criteria and standards are met that will be set by the Council and local community groups. The Council itself will need to be innovative and be prepared to promote and expand the role of local post office services in Sheffield.
I want to encourage local community groups and others parties to work alongside SCAPOC and the Council over the 6 week consultation period and beyond. With rapidly rising energy and food costs and many people in housing difficulties keeping post office services open offers vital support to vulnerable people. We must keep our community post offices open.”
SCAPOC was launched in July as a broad-based city-wide campaign involving representatives from the Socialist Party, Green Party, Communication Workers Union, Trades Council, Tenants and Residents Associations and pensioners.