The Post Office has announced that they are currently undertaking the biggest business transformation programme in their history and as part of this; they are looking to find retail partners for 70 of their Crown branches.
The Stornoway branch on Francis Street has been identified as a branch that could be potentially partnered with a retailer. The Post Office has stated that no compulsory redundancies are planned as part of this strategy and that they are committed to having a Crown Post Office in the area if a retailer partner is found.
Western Isles MP Angus MacNeil has expressed concern about the announcement. He said: “In 2012, Stornoway Post Office won the title ‘Best Performing Branch in the UK’ and their award from the Post Office now seems to be that they want to dismember it.
“I will be asking the Post Office to come and talk to the local community before any further decisions are made on the future of the Crown Post Office on Francis Street. Which is in the centre of Stornoway and as good a high street location as you could get.
“This in an ongoing dismantling of the Post Offices which has seen Post Offices put into shops and very often resulting in the loss of services.
“All parties in the UK government have not been supportive of the Post Office during the past number of years and have been involved in ‘death by a thousand cuts’.
“I am sure the community will rally round and support the Post Office in Stornoway in the weeks and months ahead.”
SNP colleague and Western Isles MSP Alasdair Allan also has concerns. He said: “I am concerned to hear that the Post Office in Francis St, Stornoway, is one of five Crown Post Offices in Scotland which could be downgraded.
“I would certainly be worried if, as suggested, relocating the Post Office into a shop would result in a reduction in number of services available such as the provision of passport documentation, vehicle licences, and travel insurance.
“I intend to meet with the Post Office to raise my concerns and to make the case for keeping a Crown Post Office in the Western Isles. It does trouble me that the UK Government appear to be going further and further down the road of privatising the postal service, something which in my view makes the case for these services being controlled in Scotland.”