I know how important the Post Office is in the small towns and villages in my constituency.
The DVLA is running a procurement competition for the services that are presently provided by the Post Office. It is required by EU law to competitively tender this contract and it is therefore, a fully, open and entirely commercial process and one which the Government cannot take sides on.
However, the Government has made clear that it wants to see the Post Office become a genuine front office for Government at both the national and local level. I completely agree with this position as Post Offices are a natural place for people to access government services such as identity verification.
Many services are already available such as: managing “Passport Check & Send” on behalf of the Identity and Passport Service (IPS); simple bank accounts for those receiving benefits, state pensions and tax credit payments; and most recently, the collection of biometric data for the residence permits.
In addition, the Post Office continues to actively engage with Government to explore how it will deliver more key services. The Post Office is further expanding its existing identity verification capability, which is becoming increasingly important as more services can be delivered online, and is developing new services to help those who are unable to access services or information online, such as print-on-demand kiosks.