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Safeguard post offices by making them business hubs

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The future of hundreds of post offices around the country could be safeguarded by transforming them into small business hubs.

The proposal has been put forward by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

Research from the FSB has shown that nearly one in five of small firms use their local post offices every day and that almost half (47 per cent) visit twice a week.

To protect the vital service that post offices offer many firms, the FSB said it believes the network needs to be remodelled as a series of small business hubs.

Under the FSB’s recommendations, a business desk would be set up at each post office with specially trained staff able to advise businesses on banking, government services, insurance and sending and receiving parcels.

Each branch would also offer dedicated advertising facilities to help small businesses reach other local businesses and potential customers.

There would be a range of financial services available, including business banking and, where possible, meeting room facilities for start-ups and micro businesses

John Wright, the FSB’s national chairman, said: “Post offices are at the heart of many communities and act not only as a place to send invoices or to collect parcels but as somewhere for small firms to network and to meet like-minded business men and women as well as potential customers.”

However, Mr Wright argued that many small firms are being let down by the lack of business services that are accessible to them.

He continued: “Making post offices into small business hubs – including dedicated business desks and a full range of financial services – will not only ensure the survival of the country’s post offices but also the communities that they serve.”

Mr Wright went on to point out that the government has committed itself to the importance of sustaining local communities and must now step up its support for post offices.

He concluded: “The sooner this happens, the sooner the Post Office can become financially viable in its own right and small firms will be able to access the service that they deserve.”