A major study for Post Office Ltd (POL) sets out new evidence of the vital part post offices play providing essential services and support to citizens and local economies.
More than 8 in 10 (82%) people see their post office as an essential service, with young people valuing it almost as much as older people. Small businesses also rely on their local post office – 43% say they would not survive without it. Proximity is vital for both consumers and businesses, and 67% have a branch within a 10 minute journey, and 38% within a 10 minute walk.
Of the network’s wide range of services, mail services are most commonly used – 83% of respondents using it for letters and stamps and 80% for parcels. Post offices are also frequently used for returning online orders (54%), exchanging foreign currency (54%) and picking up official forms (44%). Just over 1 in 3 (35%) have used branches to withdraw or deposit cash.
Highlighting the importance of post offices as a physical presence, 87% of respondents agreed that the Post Office is an essential service for vulnerable or lonely people. And only 47% of people aged 65+ said they would be able to find an alternative place to access pensions and benefits. POL also says post offices deliver a lifeline to struggling high streets. Visits to
post offices help drive 400 million extra visitors and £1.1 bn additional revenue to other local businesses.
POL’s report follows Citizens Advice’s recent call for increased government investment in post offices to fix the cracks in the network and allow post offices to deliver even greater social value.