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7 November 2008

New round of Post Office closures on the cards as Government scraps card account

Up to a dozen more post offices could be forced to close in Edinburgh next year according to Edinburgh West MP John Barrett.

His claim follows leaked news this week that the Government will scrap the Post Office Card Account (POCA).

Any further closures would come on top of the 11 already closed in Edinburgh this autumn, and with up to 3,000 Post Offices across the country at risk due to the Government’s action, it is likely that number could rise further.

Now, Mr Barrett has hit out at the government over their handling of the decision, and backed a Parliamentary motion calling for the government to ensure the future of the Post Office by encouraging all government departments to make their services available through Post Office branches.

John Barrett said:

“Plans to phase out the Post Office Card Account are bad news for customers and the community.  At a time when trust in banks is at an all-time low it is perverse to force Post Office Card users, who have all made a conscious decision to stick with the account, out into the commercial world.

“The decision-making process on POCA has been a sham.  New Labour have cynically under-cut the account, and like the Conservatives before them, have repeatedly undermined the Post Office Network.

“The most vulnerable people will be the ones who suffer the most.  And as Post Offices are forced to provide less and less for fewer and fewer, it gives the Government an excuse to close even more in the future.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1. The Government plans to end the use of the Post Office Card Account by 2010.

2. Post offices at risk over contract [Source: Press Association]: http://ukpress.google.com/article/ALeqM5gFcrrf39nB0ONI92q47Jyii0JJWg

3. John Barrett has signed Early Day Motion 2008:

That this House notes with concern the fact that the Department for Work and Pensions has written to Post Office card account holders informing them that the Post Office card account contract ends in 2010; further notes that Post Office card account holders, many of whom have made a conscious decision to support the Post Office by retaining their card account, are being instructed to take out bank accounts in order to receive benefits beyond 2010; expresses its dismay at the fact that the letter does not mention the fact that a replacement for the current card account is currently out to tender, or make any mention of other Post Office products or services; believes that this is a deliberate attempt to encourage people to switch payment to direct debit and remove the role of the Post Office; notes the additional damage inflicted on the Post Office by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, who are currently sending out licence renewal reminders as part of a communications campaign which makes no mention of the Post Office; calls on Ministers in the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform to encourage Ministers in the Department for Work and Pensions to consider the impact on communities across the country if the Post Office card account is not renewed; and encourages all Government departments to make their services available through post offices in order to ensure that they have a viable future.

4. The EDM has attracted the backing of 80 Members of Parliament, from all parties.

5. The Liberal Democrats’ National response to the rumoured government decision is available at: http://www.libdems.org.uk/media_centre/loss-of-card-account-would-be-nail-in-the-coffin-for-local-post-offices-thurso-44669949;show

Post Office closures

Post Office closures

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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.