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News 2008
News ->Mayor threatens legal challenge to Post Office closures
(19 February 2008)

Post OfficeThe Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone has condemned plans announced today to close 171 Post Offices in London. The measure will have a disproportionate effect on Asians, many of whom have set-up Post Offices in the London area. The Mayor confirmed he is considering a legal challenge by way of a judicial review regarding the consultation run by the Post Office. The Post Office's consultation opened on the 19th February 2008 and will close on the 2nd April 2008, just six weeks. The Mayor believes the Post Office's consultation period should be extended to at least 12 weeks.

The Mayor has previously highlighted the disproportionate effect of previous post office closures on the capital, the vital role of post offices for London’s local economy and communities and the real impact of cuts on local communities and millions Londoners. Ken Livingstone said, "I have taken legal advice on the feasibility of a legal challenge to today's announcement that 171 Post Offices will be closing in London and the Post Office’s consultation.

‘The Post Office have said they will consult for just six weeks over the closure proposals rather than the normal 12 weeks which the Government recommends as a minimum.

'London's Post Offices provide vital support for those who are most in need, particularly the elderly, disabled and those with young children. For many Londoners who do not have access to a bank account, the Post Office is an amenity they cannot do without.

‘I believe we need more, not fewer, Post Offices in London. I will be writing to the Post Office informing them of my intention to launch a legal challenge to their decision.”

The closure plans include 171 Post Offices - 169 branches and 2 main offices at Essex Road and at Ludgate Circus. The number of Post Offices in London has fallen by over a quarter in just three years. Many of London’s poorest do not have access to a current account via a bank and are financially excluded. Research by the New Economics Foundation suggests 35% of those living in urban deprived areas lack access to basic bank accounts.

Provision for post offices is supported by various London Plan policies relating to the provision and protection of social infrastructure and community facilities, as well as policies designed to maintain retail facilities and the quality of town centres. The London Plan notes that social infrastructure should be ‘provided within easy reach by walking and public transport of the population that use them’. In addition, when planning for access to local parks and bus stops it is usual to expect most of the population to be within a 400m distance. This ensures that facilities are placed within easy walking distance for people who are less mobile, including older people, disabled people and families with young children.

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