I had an online meeting with the Chief Executive Officer of CJ Laing, the company who own Spar Scotland. I wanted to express my disappointment at their decision to close more than half the post offices in Spar shops in Scotland, including those in Thornton and East Wemyss. It’s easy to blame Spar for this but when you look at how many other shop owners have decided to give up their post office franchises it’s obvious the main problem is not with the people who run the shops. The problem is with the Post Office.
The UK government insists on running the Post Office as if it was a private business rather than a public service but they don’t give anything like enough support to the business owners who want to host a post office in their shop. Time and again I hear from both retail chains and small independent shops who tell my if they run a sub post office it involves tons more work and often costs them money. Most shop owners don’t expect to become millionaires but they need to make enough money to pay their staff and to earn a living for themselves and their families. If the Post Office makes it impossible to do this while running a sub post offices more of our post offices will close.
I got a chance to briefly question the prime minister when he reported back to parliament after the G7 summit of the leaders of some of the world’s wealthiest countries. He said they had discussed progress against the global covid pandemic. I reminded him that even those of us who are lucky enough to have had both doses of the vaccine could still be at risk if a new, vaccine resistant variant is allowed to develop among the billions of people across the world who haven’s been vaccinated. I was pleasantly surprised when he agreed with me that nobody should claim to have defeated the virus until all of humanity is properly protected. I just hope he remembers this.
We got another example of how disastrous Brexit has been for Scotland when the prime minister released some details of the trade deal he has reached with Australia. This is likely to allow huge amounts of cheap lamb and beef, produced to lower animal welfare standards than would be allowed here, flooding into the UK. This could spell disaster for Scotland’s beef and lamb farmers and could threaten Scotland’s reputation for producing some of the highest quality fresh meat in the world.
And finally, huge congratulations to Ron and Norma Nicol from Leslie who received a joint BEM in the Queen’s birthday honours list. Ron and Norma have been stalwarts in the local amateur theatre scene for over forty years including founding what is now the Glenrothes Theatre Company in 1978. It’s nice to see their dedication getting this recognition.