UKIP’s Parliamentary Candidate for Erewash Philip Rose has issued a release warning of local Post Offices coming “under attack” by Government, “working on behalf of the EU”.
He said: “If we go back to 1997, an EU press release introduced the concept of an “EU-wide postal service”.”
“Of course, the Labour Government supported the plans to ‘harmonise’ postal services and that meant finding ways to excuse the dismantling of our previously well-integrated world-class postal service.
“Labour separated the delivery services from the Post Office and paved the way for the Tories to sell a profitable business to their friends at great cost to the rest of us. The last Labour Government also approved the closure of 2,500 Post Offices in 2008, merely following instructions from the EU. Over the past decade 8,000 have closed leaving around 11,500 today.
“I believe the Government continues to pursue a hidden closure program that will include Post Offices in Erewash.”
East Midlands UKIP MEP and the party’s spokesman for small business, Margot Parker, said: “The Post Office has been systematically run down by successive governments.
“UKIP has opposed EU directives which have continually threatened and dismantled our postal services.”
The party alleged that the Federation of Sub-Postmasters (FOSP) “has been given taxpayers’ money to stay silent on the new contracts and do the Government’s bidding”.
Mr Rose added: “Great Britain used to have a postal service that was the envy of the world. It helped bind us together as a family of nations, a service trusted and respected by all of us, a connection to a civilized society, from the largest city to the smallest hamlet.
“Modernisation, efficiency and value for money should not mean decimation, destruction and closure. Sub-Postmasters must be allowed to diversify, to build successful businesses that suit the needs of their community. I believe the Post Office can remain a focal point for local communities, not an afterthought at the back of a supermarket.
“I will campaign to show the truth behind the closure program and fight to keep our crucial local service lifelines open and profitable by supporting the ambitions of our wonderful Sub-Postmasters not just in Erewash, but throughout the Country.”
Tuesday 3rd February sees the Business, Innovations and Skills Committee, holding an evidence session on the Post Office mediation scheme, set-up to address claims that bugs within the PO’s Horizon IT system resulted in accounting errors which cost many Sub-Postmasters their livelihood, reputation and in some cases led to charges of fraud – when all the time it was fault within PO’s software system.
Erewash Conservative MP Jessica Lee said: “The UKIP candidate “fails to add any facts or evidence for the serious allegations he makes about some secret plot by the Government to hide a closure programme of Post Offices. Scaremongering and frightening people without the facts is no way to go about political campaigning.
“I have made enquiries with the relevant Government department and the allegations made by UKIP are denied. Instead, the real position is that the Government are committed to protecting the Post Office and making sure there is no closure programme. Nearly £2 billion has been invested since 2010 to maintain, modernise and protect the network. For the first time £20 million of funding will be invested in maintaining small community Post Office branches at the heart of deprived and often isolated communities.
“Local Post Offices are important to me. My grandmother ran the Post office at Sneinton Elements in Nottingham for many years, including through the Second World War.
“I am amazed that the UKIP candidate in Erewash is suddenly now interested in our local Post Offices. I remember very clearly back in 2008-9 when he was a local activist in the Conservative Party that he took no interest and no part whatsoever in my campaign to keep the Stanton-by-Dale Post Office open when the Labour Government wanted to shut it down.
“In my view, the good people of Erewash like their politicians to be direct, straight-talking and to stand up for them. The business of making allegations without facts to scaremonger the electorate and to suddenly take an interest in a topic when they were disinterested in the past, doesn’t usually go down very well.
“Stick to the facts UKIP, please.”
Erewash UKIP is holding open meetings on Monday February 9th at the Springfield Hall, Sandiacre and on February 16th at the Memorial Hall, Risley, both at 7.15pm.