House of Commons Library

The Post Office

Published Monday, January 8, 2018

This briefing paper contains information on the Post Office. Including the Government funding package announced in December 2017.

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Summary

The Post Office was separated from Royal Mail in 2012, and is owned by the UK Government. The Post Office has been undergoing a major network transformation programme. The company has been reforming itself in order to become self-sustaining. This has included reducing central costs, increasing revenues, and modernising branches in the network.

The Post Office reported its first annual profit on in sixteen years in 2016/17, reporting a modest profit of £13million[1]. However Post Office revenue fell by £57million in 2016/17 to £1,037million. This was largely the result of the reduction in Government Network Subsidy Payments.

Between 2010 and 2017, the Government allocated £2 billion to fund the Post Office’s modernisation and transformation programme.

The Government agreed a new funding package of £370million for the Post Office to run till 2021. As part of this funding package, the Government Network Subsidy Payment continues to be reduced.

Modernisation has seen the number of Crown Post Offices, those run directly by the Post Office, decrease in recent years. Some branches have been franchised to partners such as WHSmith.

Many non-Crown Post Offices have been converted, moved or modernised into new types of branches.

The number of post offices in the overall network has been declining since the 1980s, although the decline has slowed since 2009. The Library has produced a briefing on the number of Post Offices over time.

 

Commons Briefing papers CBP-7550

Authors: Jennifer Brown; Lorna Booth

Topic: Postal services

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