Bookmark and ShareAndy Wimbush is nef‘s Communications Assistant and blogmaster.

postofficeFirst Alan Greenspan admits that there is a ‘fatal flaw’ in deregulated, free-market economics, now Peter Mandelson – who just weeks ago was all but calling for the privatisation of the post office network – is urging the prime minister to save the post office network by ‘allowing it to provide financial products and government services‘, reports the Guardian. As with Greenspan, it was the financial crisis which apparently changed Mandelson’s mind.

nef has long been arguing for the salvation of post offices. From the Ashes of the Crash, our twenty point plan for stabilising and rebuilding the economic system, proposes:

4. Create a secure, accessible local banking system for people by growing the role of post offices
Following on from the reforms above, and in the context of building new, stable, secure financial institutions to meet local economic needs, such as mutuals, credit unions and cooperatives, the Post Office should be grown into a national banking system that delivers stable, accessible and dependable services to the public and businesses. It stands to be one of the best guarantees underpinning economic resilience, promoting financial inclusion and allowing people to invest and save with confidence and security. But, more than that, deposits made through the Post Office Bank could play a vital role in reconnecting the banking system with the productive economy. As a trusted source of information and advice, and a vital part of social fabric, the Post Office’s role as a shopfront for the state should be expanded providing direct, local access to a range of government services. Local and national government should be encouraged to direct services through the network. The Government should halt immediately the closure programme targeting 2500 local post offices and abandon plans to break up Royal Mail. Instead, it should build it up as both financially viable and as a cohesive social and economic institution. And, as an essential component, Royal Mail must be retained as a powerful national network and not cherry-picked by competitors and run down by a government and a regulator which have put too much faith in the deregulated market.

See also our recent pamphlet of essays: Triple Crunch. And stay tuned for a comment piece later today from our resident post office expert, Lindsay Mackie.