28 February 2006
Barrett demands debate after Labour let down 20,000 Edinburgh Post Office users
John Barrett, Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West, has today called for a parliamentary debate on the future of the Post Office network in Scotland following the Governments refusal to renew the Post Office card account service.
New Liberal Democrat research has revealed that over 20,000 people use the Post Office card account (POCA) across Edinburgh every week.
In a statement, Mr Barrett accused the Government of putting the long term viability of the Post Office network at risk following the Department of Work and Pensions admission that they would not renew the card account scheme beyond 2010.
John Barrett said:
“Since I was elected as an MP I have seen Labour close almost 20 local post offices across Edinburgh, despite widespread public resistance. This latest decision further shows the Governments willingness to undermine the long-term viability of our Post Office network.
“Across Edinburgh over 20,000 people every week use their local post office to collect their benefits through the POCA system. Not only will people now be deprived of this service, but there will clearly be an impact on the viability of many local post offices across the city.
“It is high time this Government woke-up to the fundamental importance of the Post Office network, not only in economic terms, but also for its vital community role. Post Offices act as a focal point for local communities, and yet this Government seems to treat them with contempt.
“I hope that a parliamentary debate will demonstrate the depth of feeling on this issue and persuade the Department of Work and Pensions to think again and, renew the contract for the Post Office card account after 2010.”
· Mr Barrett has applied for an Adjournment Debate on “the Future of the Post Office Network in Scotland”.
· There are 59 Post offices in the EH post code area.
· Answers to Parliamentary Questions have revealed that across Scotland each post office branch has an average of up to 355 customers per week collecting their benefits through their Post Office card account.
· 355 x 59 = 20945
· 20,945 people use the post office card account every week across Edinburgh
· Four million people have chosen to use the Post Office card account, and it is expected to generate more than £1 billion in income for Post Offices over the period 2003-2010.
· John Barrett has been running a long term campaign opposing Post Office closures across Edinburgh since 2002.