House of Commons Library

The Post Office

Published Thursday, April 20, 2017

This briefing paper contains information on the Post Office. This includes information on the 2016 Post Office network consultation and information about the funding and financial performance of the Post Office.

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The Post Office was separated from Royal Mail in 2012, and is owned by the UK Government. The Post Office is currently undergoing a major network transformation programme as the company attempts to reform itself and break even financially. This has included reducing central costs, increasing revenues, and modernising branches in the network.

As a part of this, the number of Crown Post Offices, those run directly by the Post Office, has decreased in recent years as some branches are franchised to partners such as WHSmith.

The number of post offices in the overall network has been declining since the 1980s, although the decline has slowed since 2008. The Library has produced a briefing on the number of Post Offices over time.

Many non-Crown Post Offices are being converted, moved or modernised into new types of branches, with offerings such as additional opening hours.

Since 2010, the Government has allocated £2 billion to fund the Post Office’s modernisation and transformation programme. This funding package runs to 2017/18. As part of this funding package, the Government network subsidy is currently being reduced. The Post Office continues to operate at a loss, although this has declined in recent years.

On 8 November 2016 the Government announced a consultation on the post office network, in advance of decisions on the support the network receives from the Government when the current funding package ends in 2018. The consultation closed on the 21 December 2016 and the Government is currently analysing feedback and will publish the outcome soon.

The appendix to this note lists recent news articles, press releases and parliamentary activity relating to the Post Office.

 

Commons Briefing papers CBP-7550

Authors: Jennifer Brown; Lorna Booth

Topic: Postal services

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