from a member of the Rural Shops Alliance

Sir; Referring to Rod Addy’s article ‘C-stores attack PO terms’ (The Grocer, December 4, p4-5), I note with interest recent action by large multiples to cut the number of sub-post offices in their stores.
They seem to be able to do so at will, but the same is not true of smaller retailers. If a smaller retailer turns round to the Post Office and demands more favourable terms, there is a real danger it will pull out of its contract with them.
When I signed up with the Post Office a few years ago, it required me to drop my current cash machine provider and switch to Alliance & Leicester. In that instance, however, I stood my ground and it backed down.
A related issue is the fact that not all the high street banks have signed business deals with the Post Office.
This is a disadvantage to customers who use these banks. In addition, some services offered by the Post Office are only available from a restricted number of post offices. Only certain types of post office can deal with passport queries or vehicle licensing issues, for example. If sub-post offices cannot provide these services, they will lose business to other local post offices elsewhere.
The Post Office is indeed bringing in new services all the time, but payment rates for these services are rather complex.
The majority of people supplying services through rural post offices see themselves are as a vital part of the local community, providing a major service. Highlighting these problems will, I hope, bring to people’s attention the role rural post offices are playing and the difficulties they face.