The Post Office network is set to benefit from a £1.34bn government investment.
The three-year programme, subject to EU State Aid clearance, is designed to make the network “more financially viable and give customers what they want when they want it” Postal Affairs minister Norman Lamb said.
Between now and the summer, 50 new format Post Office local and main branches will be piloted across the UK with the government aiming to convert 6,000 branches by 2015. Branch opening hours are also expected to increase to allow for better customer service, following consultation with subpostmasters.
It is also offering financial incentives to convert existing branches to main and local outlets. Those who convert to a main branch, which has a dedicated Post Office counter as well as offering services at the retail counter, can receive up to £45,000. Those who wish to have a local offering, with the Post Office services sold solely through the retail counter, can receive up to £10,000.
National Federation of Subpostmasters general secretary George Thomson welcomed the investment. “It provides a great opportunity for thousands of subpostmasters to modernise their post offices creating an improved, more sustainable network,” he said.
Subpostmasters have also repeated their call for more government services to be operated through the network.