POLITICIANS are urging Borderers to use their post offices, or risk losing them.

There are currently around 50 in the region, with many housed in convenience stores.

But across the UK, the total number of post offices has fallen by 500 in the last ten years – with the closures happening in primarily rural areas.

And now local MP John Lamont and councillor John Greenwell are calling on residents to support their local services.

Mr Lamont said: "Post offices in the Borders have been busy with Christmas post these past few weeks, but in order to survive, they need to be busy all year.

"Not everyone appreciates that postmasters only get paid for each transaction they carry out, so they need customers for it to be worth having staff on the counter.

"And the fees are so low that often postmasters have to rely on customers coming through the door also spending money in their own shop.

"We are all incredibly grateful to have a local post office at this time of year but unless they are used all year round, they simply cannot survive. It really is a case of use them or lose them."

While the transaction fee varies across the country, the income generated by hosting a post office can be less than £2,000 per year in rural areas.

Councillor John Greenwell (Cons Mid Berwickshire) added: "Post offices, particularly in rural areas like the Borders offer vital services and their loss can be a big blow to a community.

"But it’s important to remember that they are businesses and the best way to keep your local post office is to use them as often as you can.

"The post office offers all sorts of useful services, from bank withdrawals, to checking passport forms, to financial services. It’s important for communities who want to retain their local postal services, to make the effort to go in once in a while, and even better to pick up some shopping while you are there."