Wicklow TD Jennifer Whitmore has welcomed An Post’s recent move to expand the reduced postage rate for all businesses – originally only available to independent bookshops as part of a collaboration between An Post and Bookselling Ireland. Whitmore had previously called on An Post to roll out the initiative to other businesses affected by COVID19 saying the reduced postage rate could benefit many more businesses across the country.
Deputy Whitmore said:
“I’ve spoken to a lot of local business owners throughout Wicklow who have had to close their shop doors in response to the lockdown. Many businesses have found themselves scrambling to find a new way to continue doing business including exploring online sales options however, up until now the postage rate had been a major barrier for businesses migrating online. Reducing the costs of delivering can be enough to help a local business survive this difficult time.
“An Post has once again risen to the challenge by rolling out the reduced postage rate originally for independent bookshops, to all businesses. Many businesses and their customers are going to greatly benefit from this move and once again I want to commend An Post for their innovative response to the challenges faced by the business community under COVID19.
“As revealed in the Three Assemblies Report, Wicklow will not be immune from the impact of COVID19 and over 2,000 commercial units in the County could be vulnerable to the negative effects of this crisis. Central to any economic recovery will be enabling the small business sector to return to business as soon as possible.
“While An Post has demonstrated how businesses can support other businesses, local authorities and government departments will have a larger role to play as we emerge from lockdown. Local authorities and government departments must come together to address ongoing issues such as rent, rates, commercial mortgages and the cost of doing business, if we are to see the small business sector recover and continue to provide vital local employment.
“We have yet to see how the roadmap for exiting the current lockdown will pan out and what this will mean for businesses in Wicklow. There will likely be many more challenges ahead, but I believe we can certainly pre-empt some of them by introducing the necessary business supports, taking An Post as an example, and be proactive as we address future challenges.”