Post Offices "could close by stealth"
Thursday, 3 March 2011
The Countryside Alliance has warned that the latest removal of business to the Post Office network could result in them closing “by stealth.” The Department of Work and Pensions has today given the contract of welfare cheques to PayPoint, removing a service traditionally provided by Post Offices. Following on from the previous Government’s closure programme, which saw 2,500 of the 14,000 strong network close, the Coalition previously stated that it “wants to see the Post Office become a genuine front office for Government at both the national and local level” and that “there will be no further programme of closures”.
“The Government has stated its commitment to small businesses and to rural life, so it should be helping to bolster our Post Office network by giving it contracts, not removing them. The Government shows a lack of vision and support for this vital network. Our Post Offices form the hearts of their communities – let’s safeguard them.”
Countryside Alliance Chief Executive Alice Barnard commented: “This is a worrying development which may see further Post Offices close by stealth. Removing business from the Post Office can only make the network less viable and more vulnerable to closure. In addition, this latest move will either force people to open a Post Office Card Account or a bank account elsewhere to pay in their benefit or pension cheque. This will have a particular impact on those people who are unable to open bank accounts, get credit in the traditional way or travel to access a PayPoint outlet, such as the elderly, the immobile and those with low credit ratings.”