In a letter to Gavin Strang MP, Trade and Industry Secretary Patricia Hewitt MP has reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to ensure people will always be able to receive their benefits in cash at their local Post Office, if they want to do so.
The move towards automated credit transfer – putting benefits straight into bank accounts – had caused concern that people who still wanted to take their benefits in cash from their local Post Office would lose out.
There are still concerns about how the move to automated credit transfer will affect local Post Offices, as Post Offices will lose much of the money that they are paid for distributing benefits. Post Offices in less well-off urban areas are set to lose the most.
Gavin Strang MP said today:
‘I am glad that people who want to do so will always be able to draw their benefits in cash at their local Post Office.
‘I am still concerned about the threat to Post Office businesses arising from the move to encourage most people to receive their benefits in their bank account.
‘Post Offices in less well-off urban areas get the highest proportion of their income from benefit administration, so are set to lose the most.
‘In her letter, Patricia Hewitt has informed me that both the Government and Post Office Limited are keen to establish new services and to increase income streams that will help to maintain the long-term viability of individual sub post offices and of the post office network as a whole.
‘It is vital that we ensure that this country has a thriving network of local post offices – and a great deal must be done by the Government and by Post Office Ltd to ensure the viability of the Post Office network into the future.’