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18 October 2006

Barrett slams Government as Post Office cuts hit 30,000 across Edinburgh

John Barrett, Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West, today slammed the Government over controversial plans to abolish the post office card account after figures revealed over 30,000 people in Edinburgh depend on the service.

New figures, uncovered through answers to parliamentary questions reveal that 30,260 people across Edinburgh use the post office card account to receive their pension or benefits. Across Scotland, almost half a million people currently use the card account in this way. However, the Government remains committed to abandoning the scheme by 2010.

Today’s figures follow a last weeks report by Postcomm, the postal services watchdog which claimed uncertainty in Government policy and a failure to take decisions was putting thousands of post offices at risk.

The National Association of Sub-postmasters is today lobbying parliament to protest against the Governments handling of the network.

John Barrett MP and Margaret Smith MSP with Post Office petition

John Barrett said:

“I feel very strongly that the Government have betrayed sub postmasters and their customers. The average Post Office receives 10% of its income through the post office card account. By removing this vital revenue stream the Government is further undermining the long term viability of the post office network.

“Post Offices provide an important focal point for local communities. However, this Government seems intent on making it harder and harder for Post Offices to operate as viable businesses.

“Last weeks report by Postcomm laid the blame for Post Office closures squarely at the feet of the Government. The simple fact is that government decisions are forcing Post Offices out of business.

“Since I was elected as an MP I have seen Labour close almost 20 local post offices across Edinburgh despite widespread public resistance. We simply cannot afford to see yet more closures in our local communities.

“It is high time that the Government stopped closing Post Offices by the back door.”


Notes

• The table below breaks down the number of people using post office card accounts by Edinburgh constituency.

Constituency Total Other benefit State Pension
Edinburgh East 8120 5500 2620
Edinburgh North and Leith 5820 3960 1860
Edinburgh South 4390 2620 1770
Edinburgh South West 6290 3950 2340
Edinburgh West 5640 3120 2520

Therefore, 30,260 people across Edinburgh are using the POCA service. Across Scotland the figure is 495,980 people.

These figures are from Parliamentary Questions tabled by the Liberal Democrats.

A recent Age Concern report on Post Offices

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This website was established while I was a Member of Parliament. The site content is being kept online as a source of information, but all forms / email have been disabled.