A £370 million pledge by the UK Government to protect rural Post Office branches has been welcomed by the Montgomeryshire AM.

Russell George said he hopes the funding, which will also be used to extend opening hours and cut queue times, will ensure everyone continues to have access to their local branch.

The funding brings the total invested in the Post Office network since 2010 to £2 billion.

Mr George said: “Our local Post Office branches are at the heart of communities right across Montgomeryshire.

“Customers and small businesses rely on their local branch every day to access a wide range of services. With this funding, the UK Government is ensuring that our post offices are fit for the future.”

He said in recent years Montgomeryshire has seen Post Office branch closures, but added: “We have already seen a number of new mobile services and I’m now hoping that for the first time in decades, the Post Office network will be stabilised by this new investment which will mean it can continue to improve services for local people across North Powys.

“With bank branches closing across Mid Wales, the Post Office could have a key role to play in ensuring that there are “over the counter” facilities for residents and businesses to make daily face-to-face transactions which cannot always be replaced by online banking.

“I hope that this will be great news for rural Montgomeryshire communities who have a proven track record of fighting hard to keep their village services open.”