Future of 11 Redbridge post offices secured under Labour government, party says
- Credit: PA
The future of 11 post offices in Redbridge would be secured under a Labour government, the shadow chancellor has announced.
They are included on a list of thousands across the UK which the opposition party plans to protect and turn into branches of a publicly-owned high street bank.
John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, has announced a list of around 3,600 post offices which would become "Post Banks" under a Labour government - giving it the largest branch network of any UK bank.
Among them are 11 branches in Redbridge - Barkingside, Cranbrook Road (128), Goodmayes Green Lane, Gordon Road, Ilford, Longwood Parade, Manford Way, Seven Kings, South Woodford, Wanstead and Woodford Green.
The party says that the publicly-owned bank would ensure that every community has easy access to face-to-face, trusted and affordable banking.
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As well as offering banking services to individuals, it would provide services to small businesses.
The move would stem the tide of post office closures, unite important banking, business and community services under one roof and create skilled jobs, Labour said.
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Labour leader of Redbridge Council, Councillor Jas Athwal, said: "Local post offices are a vital resource which need to be protected. A lack of access to bank branches and post offices can hurt our town centres and disadvantages local people, particularly the elderly and more vulnerable.
"This new plan will secure our local post offices while also providing a new, convenient banking service and supporting the thousands of small businesses in Redbridge who may otherwise struggle to invest.
Research from the consumer magazine Which? last year showed that the UK lost nearly two-thirds of its bank and building society branches over 30 years, falling from more than 20,000 in 1988 to 7,600 in 2018.
Mr McDonnell said: "We all love our local post offices, and this plan will protect them by giving them a vital extra role - providing our communities with face-to-face banking.
"This is a plan for defending our high streets. It keeps post offices safe for years to come and brings footfall back into our town centres."
The Labour Party plans to give £2.5bn of initial funding for the Post Bank, to take over services currently offered through Post Office Money and end the existing partnership with Bank of Ireland UK.