Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has acknowledged the central role post offices and postmasters play in local communities after the National Federation of Subpostmasters presented the DVLA petition to Downing Street last week.
The first tranche of the petition, to keep DVLA services in post offices, currently has 100,000 signatures, and Sunak has raised the NFSP’s concerns with the Department of Transport and requested a ministerial response.
Six million people use the Post Office network for accessing DVLA services each year and half use cash as a payment method. The NFSP is calling on Government to reverse its decision to remove DVLA services from the network from Sunday 31 March, 2024.
NFSP Non-Executive Director North East Sue Edgar wrote several emails to Sunak, her MP for Richmond (Yorks), to highlight the campaign and received a reply on Friday 3 November.
He wrote: “Thank you for your emails and for taking the time to share your thoughts and concerns with me – it is really appreciated.
“Firstly, I do apologise for not being able to meet with you yesterday as a result of prior commitments – I do wish you and your fellow postmasters well.
“I would like to assure you that I fully acknowledge the central role that the Post Office and subpostmasters play in our communities. Postmasters, such as yourself, have an unrivalled relationship with their customers, often going above and beyond to play a range of roles at the heart of their communities and support customers in a way few other businesses can.
“In order to put your concerns about DVLA services in Post Offices to the Minister directly responsible, I have contacted the Department for Transport to bring this matter to their attention and raise with them the concerns you have outlined in your email. I have asked for a formal reply on the matter and I will, of course, let you know as soon as I have received a response.
“Thank you again for taking the time to contact me. If there is anything I can do to help in the future, please do not hesitate to get in touch.”
Sue attended Downing Street last week to hand in the petition with NFSP CEO Calum Greenhow, NFSP Chair Tim Boothman, postmasters Tim Allen and Jenny Cain, and NFSP Public Affairs Manager Ruth Buckley-Salmon.
After handing in the petition, Sue, who is postmaster of Guisborough Post Office, said: “We are fighting to save postmasters everywhere. It’s not just about the DVLA, it’s about everything we provide.
“It will force some post offices to close. We’re a vital part of communities and we’ll be gone.
“Post offices are a key part of every local community. We’re the place where a lot of people go. It’s not just older people and vulnerable people who come to us, we get youngsters as well and we help with all sorts of things.”
NFSP CEO Calum Greenhow said: "Being postmasters ourselves, the challenges that face the network is front and centre of everything we do.
“We would like to thank everyone who has got behind this campaign and spoken to their customers, who have signed the offline petition. Now that we have over 100,000 signatures, our aim is to encourage a Parliamentary debate in the new year and invite postmasters to attend Westminster to speak with their MPs about the needs that we as investors in the PO business have."