South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth has called on the UK Government to do all it can to find a long-term solution to prevent post office closures in Dumfries and Galloway.

In the last couple of weeks, it was announced that Gretna, Thornhill and Georgetown Post Offices were all set to close ‘temporarily’, with Post Office then saying last week that Gretna would be served by a mobile post office until further notice. A new operator was also being sought in Eastriggs.

However, on Monday, Post Office announced that all four will now remain open as the operator, Spar, had decided to delay the closure which means all the branches will continue to operate as normal.

Colin Smyth said: “I am very pleased to hear that Spar has decided to continue to operate these four post offices and it will be a huge relief to the communities they serve. It really was unacceptable to announce closure plans in the middle of the pandemic, knowing it was unlikely that an alternative could be found in the current climate. I will be seeking an assurance from the company that this will be a long-term commitment and not just a short-term reprieve.

“Post Offices are vital services but sadly, right across Dumfries and Galloway we have seen closure after closure of branches and complete inaction by the UK Government to protect them.

“It is time for the UK Government to step up to the mark and find some long-term solutions to prevent closures becoming a reality across our region.

“The pandemic has had a massive impact on the retail sector and our Post Offices are no exception. It highlights the need to look again at what help is being provided to businesses to get through this pandemic and how we put in place proper support to maintain a Post Office network in the long term before we have further closures.”

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