Post offices are in a “disastrous financial situation”, according to new survey of subpostmasters.
In an income survey conducted by the National Federation of SubPostmasters (NFSP), only 17% could “see a strong future for their business” while 51% said their Post Office income had decreased in the past year.
There was also concern about running costs with 70% of subpostmasters reporting an increase in overheads over the past year, and 48% reporting an increase in staff costs.
NFSP general secretary George Thomson said the government had failed to deliver on promises to offer more services through the network and that there would be no more mass branch closures.
“There is now little doubt that the government’s promise of no more planned closures was hollow, and that the failure to make full use of the network will lead to mass closures through the back door,” he said.
The survey also revealed that current government services are not delivering financial gains for subpostmasters, with 94% of respondents reporting that they earned nothing from ID checking services and 77% earned nothing from Passport Check and Send over the past 12 months.
Some financial services currently offered by the network also proved to be unprofitable with 97% of respondents claiming they earned no money from PO Credit Cards and PO Home Insurance.
The NFSP believes more useful banking and financial services should be introduced to the network in order to encourage repeat transactions in post offices. “Urgent action must be taken to avert a major financial crisis in the post office network, and further post office closures which will leave the network unable to compete with competitors at a time of huge change,” added Thomson. “We are looking at all our options to ensure vital changes are made.”
A Post Office current account was announced last month, however there are concerns that it will not result in any significant increase in income if it is not distinctive from other current accounts that are also available.