Government Minister backs Rochdale's stance against post office closures

July 22, 2008 12:00 AM

Government Minister Phil WoolasPhil Woolas MP, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Minister has thrown his weight behind Rochdale's Post Office rescue package. He advised Lib Dem councillors in his Oldham constituency to look at Rochdale's plan to pay the Government subsidy, a plan that has been welcomed by Postmasters of the post offices that have been earmarked for closure.

Mr Woolas caused controversy when he held a public meeting in his Constituency to try and save Post Offices and presented a 12 page dossier to Post Office Bosses in an attempt to save his local services despite being a Government Minister. He is one of a number of Government Ministers to join their local picket line despite the Labour Government closing 2,500 Post Offices nationwide.

Rochdale MP Paul Rowen has welcomed the support of Phil Woolas MP saying: "This is a sign that even senior Government Ministers are taking notice of our groundbreaking plans. We are currently in negotiation with Post Office Ltd and hopefully we will be in a position to move forward shortly.

"I have been inundated with enquiries from MPs from all three political parties interested in how the 'Rochdale Model' works and the fact that a senior Cabinet Minister is willing to go on record supporting our bold move shows that the eyes of the country are on Rochdale."

Councillor William Hobhouse, the Chairman of Rochdale Township, said: "I have already had a very positive meeting with Post Office Ltd and they are scrutinising our plans. I will be meeting them again shortly, alongside Councillor Jean Ashworth, the Chairman of Pennines Township to make these plans a reality. It is encouraging to see Phil Woolas, when cornered, quoting the unique moves that Rochdale are making."

Meanwhile, the consultation period for the closures has ended and Post Office Ltd. will decide which offices they are planning to axe on 12 August.