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Written - Repayment of the Post Office Development Fund Agreement Reached with Post Office Ltd

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Leighton Andrews, Deputy Minister for Regeneration
In October 2007 Post Office Ltd commenced their Network Change Programme in Wales publishing the first of 5 local area plans. The four area plans published so far have all contained the compulsory closure of post offices that benefited from Welsh Assembly Government funding under the Post Office Development Fund (PODF).

The Welsh Assembly Government is disappointed with the closure of post offices that had received PODF. The Welsh Assembly Government is accountable for the way it spends public money and so I announced on 10th October that we would seek repayment of PODF monies paid to post offices closed by Post Office Ltd during their Network Change programme.

I am pleased to say that we have now reached an in principle agreement with Post Office Limited under which Post Office Ltd will consider providing compensation related to the repayment of the PODF grant to sub postmasters who received PODF and whose post offices have been, or will be, closed. Whilst the details of the eligibility criteria for compensation are still to be finalised, I trust this will be considered as good news by sub postmasters.

This contingency package for sub postmasters whose businesses are closing will mean that subpostmasters who meet Post Office Ltd's criteria will be given the amount of the PODF grant they have to repay.

Between 2002 and 2004 the Welsh Assembly Government offered grants totalling £4.1m under the PODF to 106 post offices in some of the most deprived and isolated areas in Wales.

The Welsh Assembly Government is committed through the One Wales agreement to reinstate and refocus the PODF. This will be open from 1 January 2009.