The Scottish government, local councils and Post Offices have been advised to work together to help ensure the network's survival.

Postal services watchdog Consumer Focus Scotland has called for a joint approach in offering more government and council services through local post offices.

In its report, The Post Office Network in Scotland, Consumer Focus said there was a need to improve the sustainability of the network and that local authorities could play a vital role in achieving this. The report recommended the creation of a "high-level group to pinpoint additional public services that it could offer through the network consistently throughout the country".

The report pointed out that vulnerable customers who do not always have access to online services would also benefit from a greater range of services.

Consumer Focus cited an initiative between Fife police and post offices where the public were able to report minor crimes, submit driving documents and collect or hand in lost property at their local branch.

Consumer Focus Scotland postal services policy manager Annie McGovern said: "Post offices are Scotland's largest retail chain, as well as being trusted and valued hubs embedded in local communities across the country.

"Offering more council services at post office counters could bridge the digital divide and help to preserve these vital community assets.

"It's time for the Scottish government, councils and the Post Office to come together and develop a plan that will boost our post offices and the services they offer vulnerable people," she added.

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