CONCERNS over post office provision have been raised by an MP after a vital branch announced its closure in their constituency.

Kirsten Oswald, SNP MP for East Renfrewshire, said the Government must do more to ensure local residents are receiving the services they need.

It comes as a post office in Eaglesham prepares to close on September 6 due to the resignation of the current operator.

It is one of several closures of postal outlets in the past three years in the same area.

Now an All-Party Parliamentary Group in Westminster is investigating the issue.

Ms Oswald, who a member of the Commons group, said it was concerning another branch in her constituency was planning to shut, adding that even temporary closures of the facilities can last up to two years.

A report by the business, energy and industrial strategy (BEIS) committee in Westminster published a report on the future of the Post Office earlier this year, highlighting that almost 10 per cent of branches could be temporarily closed at any one time.

The report also suggested many post offices are now mobile branches or smaller facilities that do not offer a full range of services, and questioned how comprehensive the network truly is across the country.

Ms Oswald said: “For too long, Conservative politicians have bemoaned closures and disruptions in the Post Office network while ignoring the devastating mismanagement and underfunding of the service by their own government.

“It is clear the UK Government expects to get a post office network on the cheap, removing almost all public subsidy and selling it to possible operators as a ‘loss leader’ to attract customers to their shops.

“The effect of this strategy is now plain to see. The Post Office has ceased to be a reliable service in too many communities. Individuals and businesses are forced to use online services or competing local services.

“The UK Government’s long-term approach has been to diminish the idea of the post office as a universal service.

“With the current funding settlement due to end in March 2021, the freemarket zealots in the UK Government will see this as an opportunity to cut access to post office services even further. This must not be allowed to happen.”

The UK Government responded to the BEIS committee report in March, stating that sub postmasters would receive a 10% increase in subsidies in 2020/21 compared to the previous year.

They also said that “changing consumer behaviour presents a significant challenge for small retailers, including many postmasters up and down the country.

“Post Office Ltd continue to develop new products to provide customers and Government with a competitive offering that considers social purpose, what customers need and what delivers value for money for postmasters”.

The Post Office confirmed the East Renfrewshire branch would close temporarily in September, stating: “McColl’s, which operates the branch, has made the difficult decision to close the shop.

We understand how important a Post Office is to a community and we will continue to work to find a solution that will provide a service to the community in this area.”