YEAR-LONG problems with postal services in parts of Oxfordshire were debated in Parliament.

David Johnston, MP for Wantage, has been working to resolve ongoing problems with Royal Mail services in Wantage, Grove, Didcot, Wallingford and some surrounding villages following the very first complaint he received on August 10 last year.

In his speech in Parliament last week, he revealed that he has had more complaints about Royal Mail than about any other company or organisation in his time as an MP, which is why he 'nearly choked' when he read reports that the service reported treble profits.

Mr Johnston said: "I wish this debate about the performance of Royal Mail was not necessary, and I want to be crystal clear at the outset that I do not think that the problems I will describe are the fault of Royal Mail’s workers.

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"Indeed, when my constituents complain to me, they often say the same thing – they do not blame Royal Mail's workers, and they have huge admiration for them.

"The experience of the past year is particularly frustrating as the Royal Mail has just recorded record profits.

"The price of a first-class stamp has gone up a third in the last five years, including a rise of 12 per cent this year.

"The fall in service is difficult to reconcile with the increase in profits."

The MP added that when he called a meeting with the headquarters towards the end of last year, he 'naively hoped' that the problems would be resolved.

He also suggested a 'simpler process' for compensating constituents, perhaps an automatic one, as Royal Mail knows when it is delivering something very late.

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Illustrating the grievances he has received from residents, who often feel 'fobbed off' when they complain to the service directly, the MP said: "My constituent Ann and her husband, who live in Wantage, did not get their 65th wedding anniversary cards.

"Anyone who gets to 65 years of marriage ought to be getting their anniversary cards on time.

"Much more sadly, my constituent Matthew’s wife died last year and he did not receive the condolence cards or the death certificates on time.

"I have constituents who have not had their insurance renewals, meaning they have ended up having to pay more for their insurance.

"One did not get his bank card, so he could not pay for anything when he was out and about.

"Constituents have complained that they have not received mail for one, two or three weeks, and they sometimes go to the sorting office and are handed that mail.

"One recent complainant has still not had her Christmas post."