Post offices are to close in the Highlands in a cost-saving exercise. Eighteen of the 198 post offices will be closing completely, with a further 11 having their servies replaced by small shops or mobile vans.
Post offices are closing up and down the UK, with up to 2,500 facing the axe. Proposals to axe 44 post offices in Glasgow, Argyll and Central Scotland have already been unveiled.
Peter Peacock, regional Labour MSP for the Highlands and Islands, is furious with the announcement and has pledged to fight the closures.
Jamie McGrigor, the Conservative MSP for Highlands and Islands has also attacked the decision, saying that the elderly and disadvanted in Scotland will be the worst affected by post office closure.
Government has ruled, however, that 95 per cent of those living in remote areas must be within six miles of a post office, and this has saved several rural branches.
Post Office Ltd’s network development manager for Scotland, Sally Buchanan said: ‘Taking the decision to close any post office branch is always very difficult.’
Ms Buchanan continued, ‘We want to ensure that everyone who uses, relies on or has any concern with post office services is both fully aware of the changes we are proposing to meet UK government requirements, and able to give views on how accessible services will be.’
Timeline for announcements of post office proposals:
March: Northern and Western Isles
May: North-east Scotland, Tayside and Fife
July: Ayrshire, Inverclyde, Lanarkshire and Renfrewshire
August: Edinburgh, the Lothians and the south of Scotland
Eighteen of the 198 post office branches in the Highlands are to close in the meantime.