Tom has today taken up the cudgels over the temporary closure of Boosbeck’s Post Office.
The Post Office, located in the High Street in a branch of Mace Convenience Stores, is the only post office outlet in the village, with the only alternatives either in Skelton or Lingdale.
The reasons for the closure are unclear to the shop’s owner, Neil Johnson, but they are connected to a long running and national issue with the computer system and software used by the Post Office called Horizon. Horizon is supposed to offer the Post Office’s own cash flow and accounting system online to sub post office branches. In other parts of the country sub postmasters had been reprimanded by the Post Office for alleged false accounting – something which they vehemently deny.
The shop’s owner, Neil Johnson, said
I really have to apologise for not being able to offer the Post Office service the village deserves.
The worst thing is that I cannot get a full response from the Post Office for their suspension of the service. All I want is a full explanation and from that to see what could be put right or amended. All I have at the moment is an invitation to a ‘meeting’ with post office bosses – but that’s not until the 31st of this month.
It just isn’t good enough and leads to an honest shopkeeper being possibly branded with an unfair image or tarnished by rumours. There have been many questions and debates in the House of Commons about these issues, but at the root of everything is the fact that sub post offices are privatised and are unaccountable to the public and even MPs.
I did write on Mr Johnson’s behalf to the Post Office’s parliamentary liaison office, but all I have had back so far is the standard response that this is ‘being looked at’, and advice as to where the nearest other offices are – which I know anyway! This is going to mean yet another question to ministers in coming days.