The announcement that the UK Government is to invest £370 million to extend opening hours, cut queue times and protect rural post office branches has been welcomed by Montgomeryshire Assembly Member, Russell George.

The funding brings the total invested in the Post Office network since 2010 to £2 billion, which it is hoped will secure the future of the network.

Mr George has welcomed this week’s new funding, helping to protect village branches and ensure everyone continues to have access to their local branch. 

He said: “Our local Post Office branches are at the heart of communities right across Montgomeryshire.   

“Customers and small businesses rely on their local branch every day to access a wide range of services. With this funding, the UK Government is ensuring that our post offices are fit for the future.

“In recent years, we have experienced branch closures across Montgomeryshire and I have been in discussions with communities and the post office regarding the provision of post office services in communities including Llandinam, Llanbrynmair, Sarn and Castle Caereinion.

“We have already seen a number of new mobile services and I’m now hoping that for the first time in decades, the Post Office network will be stabilised by this new investment which will mean it can continue to improve services for local people across North Powys.”

Mr George also stressed the role of Post Offices is even more vital in the wake of bank closures, with Llanidloes, Machynlleth and Welshpool being among the towns to lose branches in recent months.

He added: “With bank branches closing across Mid Wales, the Post Office could have a key role to play in ensuring that there are ‘over the counter’ facilities for residents and businesses to make daily face-to-face transactions which cannot always be replaced by online banking.

“I hope that this will be great news for rural Montgomeryshire communities who have a proven track record of fighting hard to keep their village services open.”