The extension of this support to the rural Post Office network depended on the UK persuading Europe that this did not represent unfair state aid. Today's European Commission decision confirms that funding can continue to be made available from 1 April 2006 to 31 March 2008.
'The Government has made unprecedented investment of more than£2bn to help maintain the Post Office network since 1997. We made the argument in Europe to continue supporting Post Offices. We welcome this decision which will allow the Government to fulfil its pledge to support the rural Post Office network for a further two years.'
1. The Secretary of State made a statement to the House of Commons in September 2004 indicating the Government's intention to provide funding for the rural post office network to 2008, though this was always subject to receiving state aid clearance.
2. The Government notified the European Commission of our application for state aid clearance in March 2005.