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Issue:- 14 February 2013

Liverpool hit badly by Post Office franchises says CWU

PLANS announced by the Post Office to franchise 70 Crown post offices will cut the Crown network by 20 per cent and more than 700 Post Office staff. Liverpool fares especially badly with five Crown Post Offices affected. They are: Breck Road, Huyton, Kirkby, Old Swan, and Prescot.

CWU general secretary Billy Hayes called the move a "partial destruction of the Crown network" and raised concerns about access to services and survival of the post office network.

Billy Hayes said:- "Today's announcement to franchise 70 Crown Post Offices – affecting over 700 Post Office staff – is a huge blow to the network. Staff will be in shock today at the scale of what will effectively be closures of Crown post offices across the country. It's a particularly high proportion in Liverpool and we fear that communities will feel the loss of the Post Office very keenly.  This move will have a huge impact on the high streets of small towns earmarked to lose their Crown Post Office. These offices provide a dedicated specialist service to communities which will not be replicated by a window or two in a bigger shop. We've seen problems with access to post office services in previous franchise arrangements and fear this announcement could create further barriers to accessing a range of post office services. It leaves huge questions about the future of the Post Office – how can it realistically deliver services for passport applications, identity services and a range of financial services while being dramatically pruned back? What does it mean for Metropolitan Police plans to move into London Post Offices? What will it mean for the health of the high street and the many small business who rely on Crown offices for postage and banking services? This move could be very damaging to the future potential of the network. And with no meaningful consultation with the union, our members have had this situation imposed upon them. This flies in the face of Post Office and government strategy to move to a culture of mutualisation.  We're strongly urging the Post Office to re-think these proposals and consider the future of the network, the communities it serves and the services it provides. At a time when the government is investing £1.34 billion in the Post Office, PO management's imagination is limited and all they can think about is cutting costs and reducing services - where are the plans for growth?"

Some parts of the country fare especially badly in the proposals:-

Wales:- 8 out 20 offices (Camarthen, Holyhead, Holywell, Llangefni, Morrison, Neath, Port Talbot, Rhyl)

Scotland: 5 out of 25 offices (Alloa, Cumbernauld, East Kilbride, Perth, Stornoway)

Northern Ireland:- 2 out of 8 offices (Antrim and Ballymena)

London:- 13 offices (Balham, East Dulwich, East Finchley, Eastcote, Great Greenford, Heathway, Holloway, Laindon, Potters Bar, Raynes Park, Rye Lane, Swiss Cottage, Wallington)

Liverpool:- 5 offices (Breck Road, Huyton, Kirkby, Old Swan, Prescot)

Manchester:- 5 offices (Didsbury Village, Gorton, Salford City, Swinton, Urmston)

One post office is in David Cameron's constituency of Witney. Another is in the seaside town of Whitstable in Kent which is currently fighting to save its Royal Mail delivery office from closure.

In a recent report (published November 2012), postal watchdog Consumer Focus criticised the performance of post offices franchised to WHSmith. They were the worst performer on queue times and scored badly on quality of service and accessibility.

Crowns performed the best on accessibility and showed the most significant improvement since 2009 as well as scoring highly on quality of service.

See the full report by clicking on here.

As of March 2012 there were 409 franchised branches with companies like WHSmith, Spar and Tesco.  There are 370 Crown offices currently in the UK. These are the bigger high street offices directly managed by the Post Office. The total post office network size is 11,800 as a mixture of Crowns, subs and franchises. In the last year 150 jobs have been taken out of the Crown network. This along with other measures will save the Post Office £9miilion a year. CWU and Unite are working to help reduce costs in the Post Office. The union has also cooperated on branch mergers and trialling new models with view to making savings while improving services.


LOCAL residents will soon have the chance to enjoy the outdoor life in a newly created Community Garden in Hesketh Bank. Following the hugely popular scheme to redevelop the Poor Marsh allotments on Shore Road, work to develop a one acre area in the middle of the allotment site began in early in January and is now nearing completion.

The Community Garden called New Shoots will include a woodland walkway lined with edible fruit trees and bushes and will also incorporate a number of features specifically designed to provide a rich habitat for native wildlife. These will include a large pond, a bee keeping area, a wetland and a wild flower area. The community garden will also be used as an outdoor event space and has its first show at 7.30pm on 7 June when Mikron, a travelling theatre company, stage 'Beyond the Veil', a play about bee keeping.

As well as offering a pleasant environment in which to wander and relax, New Shoots will also give people the chance to get involved in the increasingly popular Community Food Growing movement by providing a large poly tunnel and raised bed area and will help people learn more about permaculture and sustainable gardening concepts.

The bulk of the work has been jointly funded by Hesketh with Becconsall Parish Council and The Lancashire Environmental Fund with some additional funding from the Green Partnership. It has been project managed by Lancashire County Council, who also made a financial contribution.

Local resident, Viv Aldred, Chair, New Shoots Management Committee, commented:- "We are very excited to be getting this wonderful new community facility and we hope that lots of local people will get involved. The construction work is now virtually complete and we are about to embark on a huge planting scheme. We have already had offers of help from the local High School, Youth Club and Scouts and we would also like to involve lots of families and anyone who lives alone and might like to come to a friendly place where they can meet other people."

Planting days for the whole community will begin during half term week with the first two sessions planned for Tuesday 19th and Wednesday 20th February between 11.00 a.m. and 2.00 p.m. Refreshments will be provided for all volunteers. Anyone wishing to get involved should go to on the Poor Marsh car park on Shore Road opposite All Saints School or telephone the New Shoots Secretary, Chris Derby on 07754 395142.

For further information contact Steve Kirby on 07766 367550

Arctic explorers civic send off

LIVERPOOL's Lord Mayor, Councillor Sharon Sullivan will present the Liverpool City Shield to a brave group of volunteers taking part in the 'Arctic Heroes Challenge' on Monday 11 February.  The shield will then be presented to the Lord Mayor of Nordkapp as a goodwill gesture from the people of Liverpool during their trip.

A number of those involved in the challenge will accept the shield from the Lord Mayor, Councillor Sharon Sullivan at Exchange Flags where they will also be taking ownership of a brand new jeep which has been loaned to them for the expedition.

Councillor Sharon Sullivan said:- "Help for Heroes is a very worthy cause and I wish everyone involved in this highly physical and emotional challenge the best of luck.

I am delighted to be sending them off to Norway with the Liverpool City Shield as a token of friendship, I am sure they will receive a fantastic welcome in Nordkapp."

The group will be driving from the UK and crossing the Arctic Circle in the northern region of Norway, aiming to reach the northernmost point of Europe at North Cape (Nordkapp).

At this point only the Svalbard Islands will separate the expedition from the North Pole on the Polar Ice Cap in the Arctic Ocean. This will be done in temperatures as low as minus 30degrees celsius. The team are also planning to wild camp at some of the locations en-route as they make their way through Norway to the tip of Europe.

The group have already managed to raise over £13,000 for Help for Heroes and hope to hit their target of £20,000 by the time they leave in March.

Anyone wanting more information or to make a donation can do so by visiting:- and a donation site at:-

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