Post offices should be transformed into small business hubs, offering services such as banking and advice to companies in a bid to secure the future of the branch network, an industry group has said.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) called for Government help to transform post offices, establishing a business desk in every branch able to offer advice on banking, insurance and other services.
Meeting room facilities should also be set up to allow businesses to contact their customers, it was suggested.
FSB chairman John Wright said: “Post offices are at the heart of many communities and act not only as a place to send invoices or to collect parcels, but as somewhere for small firms to network, and meet like-minded businessmen and women as well as |potential customers.
“However, small firms are not being given a fully operational business service and are severely let down. Making post offices into small business hubs, including dedicated business desks and a full range of financial services, will not only ensure the survival of the country's post offices but also the communities that they serve.
“The Government has committed to the importance of sustaining local communities and must now step up and support the Post Office to |become a small business hub.”
Andy Burrows of Consumer Focus said: “There is huge untapped potential in the way post offices could support small businesses, in particular, through dedicated mail and banking services.”