Royal Mail criticised for refusing Shropshire coronavirus leaflets request
The Royal Mail has been criticised for refusing to allow postal workers to deliver community coronavirus information leaflets for free.
Flyers with advice and details of support available during the pandemic have been produced by community groups across Shropshire.
When postmen and women in Chirbury and Worthen were approached and asked to help deliver them, they were happy to help.
But the plan was vetoed by Royal Mail bosses who said charges for leaflet delivery would need to apply.
Councillor Heather Kidd, who represents the division on Shropshire Council, said: “Worthen with Shelve and Chirbury with Brompton Parishes are working together to make sure we can all support our residents during this difficult time.
“We approached or local posties who were all willing to distribute our information leaflet. They asked their local team leaders and all was fine.
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“Their bosses however said no. They want us to use the money we are using for foodbanks and other support to pay for them.
“This was taken up for us by the former High Sheriff, David Stacey, who lives locally, and the Lord Lieutenant, Anna Turner. The answer was still no.
“With so many other organisations – all the big supermarkets, Calor, the banks and the Post Office – helping communities out in so many different ways, the Royal Mail has done itself no favours with our team of local volunteers.
“This was not something that would have cost them anything. We merely wanted them to take to addresses they were already going to.
“Our area would still value this service connecting our isolated communities with our Care in the Community group.
“In contrast I would like to pay tribute to our local posties who are doing a terrific job in very difficult circumstances.”
Royal Mail said it was not possible to relax the charges due to the increased pressures the service is facing as a result of the pandemic.
A spokesperson said: “We fully understand the devastating impact of the coronavirus outbreak on families, businesses and communities across the UK.
“As the Universal Service Provider, we collect and deliver letters and parcels to around 30 million addresses around the UK six days a week.
“Royal Mail has been recognised by the UK Government as a key part of the response to the crisis. As such, we are doing everything that we can to maintain a full service.
“Increasingly, our people are delivering essential medicines, public health information and testing kits for NHS workers.
“We are seeking to do this whilst also experiencing very significant increases in staff absence, whether due to employees following official advice to remain home, or suffering the symptoms of Covid-19.
“We have received many requests for support at this difficult time. I hope you can understand that, like all regulated businesses, we have to continue to apply charges for door to door mailings, as we do for all other services that we deliver”.
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