ROYAL Mail’s recent surge in profits has been questioned after several post offices in rural mid Cheshire were forced to close their offices as part of company cutbacks.
The company made £177million in operating profits for the past six months, up by some £91million on the same period last year.
The profits – Royal Mail’s biggest for at least seven years – come on the back of offices closing in Delamere, Weaverham, Little Leigh, Lach Dennis, Cuddington, Great Budworth and Pickmere.
Matthew Veasey, a Little Leigh parish councillor, who campaigned to keep the village’s office open, said whatever costs Little Leigh post office ran up, they were a drop in the ocean to the figures produced by the Royal Mail.
“I can’t see that closing post offices have made that much a difference,” he said.
“Clearly Royal Mail are doing a lot of work to make the business more profitable but I have to question whether closing post office’s has led to that sort of profit.
“So you have to look at whether it was sensible and if Little Leigh, and the other offices, were dragging the profits down that much.”
Rachel Evans, spokesperson for Cheshire branch of the Countryside Alliance, said: “Over the last year Post Office consultations have seen half a dozen branches axed across Cheshire, abandoning many isolated and elderly people in rural areas to their fate due to, amongst other things, a lack of ‘economic viability’.
“Of course it is hard to marry up a loss-making business with a valuable social resource, we recognise that business has to succeed and that means profit.
“However, the Countryside Alliance has always said that Post Offices represent the heart of our rural communities and that economic concerns represent only part of the bigger picture.”