Removal of card accounts could spell the end for many local Post Offices
Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson, Mitchel McLaughlin MLA (South Antrim) has said that any attempt by the British Government to remove card account contracts would have devastating consequences for the local Post Offices.
Mitchel McLaughlin said:
"Sinn Féin has had concerns for some time about the British governments' policy of removing facilities from the postal service. This practice will have severe consequences for many communities particularly in the rural areas. It now appears that the local Post Office is coming under further threat with the contract for one of its main services, the benefits payment Card Account, being put out to tender.
"I would urge community organisations, public representatives and concerned citizens to make their voices heard in demanding that the British government halt its steady run down of services available at the local Post Office.
"Deliberate Government policy and dogma is the actual reason that many local Post Offices are becoming unviable. It is not the loss of the traditional customer base but the direct result of government action in running down many of the services available that is the threat to the survival of the local Post Office - particularly in rural areas - which where once the focal point of many small communities.
"When payment of benefits moved from payment books to electronic accounts, Post Offices lost out dramatically because government encouraged recipients to have their benefits paid into bank accounts. The loss of NIE power cards, TV license saving stamps and other pre-payment cards to convenience stores was another attack on the services traditionally provided by the Post Office.
"It is imperative that we do all in our power to present the case for the retention of a facility that for many people, particularly the elderly is essential. The local Post Office is the main point of contact within our communities. The removal of card accounts could spell the end for many of our small Post Offices and that is something we can't allow to happen." ENDS