Funding deal puts Post Office at heart of government industrial strategy

BEIS says funding will also extend opening hours and protect rural branches

The Post Office, a BEIS-owned company, will receive a £370m package. Photo: PA

By Richard Johnstone

20 Dec 2017

The government has announced a £370m funding package for the Post Office as part of moves to put the state-owned firm at the heart of the government’s industrial strategy.

The funding deal, which will run from April 2018 to March 2021, will invest £210m in modernising the Post Office network so it can continue to provide essential services and play an expanded role in providing banking services to small and medium-sized firms, a key pledge in the flagship strategy.

Around £160m will be used to protect branches that are the "last shop in the village" in order to ensure people can continue to access a local branch, according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Business secretary Greg Clark highlighted that the agreement comes after the Post Office moved into profit in 2017 for the first time in 16 years, making the business less reliant on government subsidies.

“The Post Office is at the heart of communities across the UK, with millions of customers and small businesses relying on their local branch every day to access a wide range of important services,” he said.

“With the network at its most stable in decades, this £370m of government funding will ensure it can continue to modernise and bring further benefits to customers across the UK.”

Paula Vennells, the Post Office chief executive said that the business was changing “to meet our customers’ changing needs”.

“We are committed to making the Post Office matter as much tomorrow as it does today,” she said. “For over 370 years, the Post Office has stayed relevant to communities the length and breadth of the UK by changing and adapting. With the Post Office now trading at a profit, we are better placed than ever to embrace the future.”

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