More than 30 post offices in Wales which were threatened with closure can now look forward to a prosperous future as the result of a government grant scheme, an official study has found.
The Post Office Development Fund gave grants of up to £50,000 to 125 small post offices in a bid to ensure they continued to exist as the hub of
community life.
The report prepared for the Welsh Assembly found that the scheme was a great success and that assisted post offices grew in size and business, while
others without any extra financial help usually continued to decline.
The fight is now on to re-open the fund. Fear of being accused of wasting money on post offices that the government would force into closure has meant minister Edwina Hart has suspended operations until London decides the future shape of the network.
Last month she said she was continuing to "keep up the pressure" to preserve rural post offices.
The £4m fund for isolated and deprived communities "had a positive impact on commercial viability", the survey stated. Post offices were capital poor, said the report, and without the grant eight would have closed and 28 might have, while 83 of the projects would not have taken place.
The report added that business had increased in 80% of aided post offices, but had fallen in most unfunded offices.