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The Post Office Ltd provides a wide range of products and services to the public through its network of post office branches.

As well as postal services, post offices offer access to banking services and cash, and certain government services.

Post office network

The number of post offices has been relatively stable since 2009, although the overall network size has declined since the 1980s. The Library has a separate briefing on the number of Post Offices over time.

Concerns have however been raised about the number of temporary post office closures – some of which last years – and about the rise in the number of outreach post offices, which may only operate for a few hours a week. 

Relationship with government

The Post Office is owned by the government, through the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and UK Government Investments (UKGI), however, the Post Office Ltd Board has responsibility for the operations of the Post Office.

In their Spending Review for 2021/22, the government announced that the £50 million Network Subsidy Payment would continue, along with a further investment of £177 million, some of which was as a loan.


The Post Office Horizon affair has been described as the one of UK’s most widespread miscarriages of justice.   

Investigations by the Post Office into postmasters, using information from the Horizon post office computer system, led to suspensions, termination of postmasters’ contracts, prosecution and conviction of postmasters, for example for false accounting and fraud.

Section 5 of the briefing gives an overview of the key events of the past couple of years, up to the inquiry that is currently being held.

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