Devon post office closures 'hit costs at small firms'

The closure of village post offices led to "significant" extra costs for small firms, research in Devon has found.

Consumer Focus studied closures in the county and also found that while residents liked outreach services they were considered a "downgrade".

The research was carried out ahead of changes to the service over the next four years.

The Post Office said the changes would not involve any more closures.

Andy Burrows, from Consumer Focus, said: "The post office network is due to undergo a radical transformation in the next few years.

Rely on neighbours

"Now is the time to look ahead and agree what can be done to ensure this programme of change is implemented as smoothly as possible for consumers."

Consumer Focus said that its research found that while small firms faced increased costs in travelling to other post offices, other customers had to rely on neighbours to post items.

It added that some Devon communities showed "great resilience" by opening community shops which Devon County Council had supported.

In a statement, the Post Office said: "The report recognises and applauds the lengths to which Post Office Ltd went to engage with local communities at that time in Devon.

"Looking forward, Post Office Ltd and the government have made it clear on repeated occasions that there will be no future closure programmes."

It added that it was to receive a £1.34bn investment to maintain the size of the network and to "transform the customer experience" across the UK.

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