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Britain shuts one fifth of post offices

world Updated: May 17, 2007 18:37 IST

AFP
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Britain's government confirmed on Thursday that it will shut about 2,500 post offices, or almost one fifth of the total network, over the next two years.



Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling made the announcement in parliament, following a consultation over plans which were unveiled last December.



Darling told lawmakers that losses at the postal network had swelled to 4.0 million (€5.9 million, $7.9 million) per week.



The news has drawn fierce criticism from business leaders and political opponents, who fear harsh consequences for small remote communities that rely on local services. However, no figures were given for potential job cuts.



But Darling also unveiled a £1.7 billion package, including an annual subsidy of £150 million, to help prevent further closures.