Saturday, June 28, 2008

Another Threat to the Post Office

The Government still hasn't made up its mind about who will run the Post Office Card Account after the present contract expires in 2010. This is the account which replaced the Pension book for many over 60s, allowing them to go to the Post Office as they always had and draw the money out each week. For people like my mother who can't get into her bank branch it's a godsend, helping her to maintain her independence. It's also used for benefit payments and often is the only sensible way for someone on a very low income to manage their money. Because the account doesn't allow overdrafts it's impossible to spend more than you have in the account. But this Labour Government, elected because so many people thought it would look after them better than the previous Conservative one, is failing the people who need it most. They've made it really difficult to find out that such a card is an option, assuming instead that everyone will want to use a bank account. And yet many people, even though they use a bank for other things, value the social networking that goes on in the Post Office. Even those of us who can't imagine needing it at the moment don't know what's going to happen to us in 10 or 20 years time. We might be glad of an account which someone else can draw from and do our shopping but we can ensure that it only gives access to a certain amount of money.

The National Federation of Sub-Postmasters is running a postcard campaign to try to ensure that the Post Office keeps the contract. All you need to do it ask in the Post Office for a card, fill in your name and address and give it back to them. They will send them to the right MP. If you think the card account is important, please do ask. Liberal Democrats strongly believe that only the Post Office can do this job. It's the only body with a wide enough network to support all the people who want to use the card. So please do support the campaign and write to your MP or ask for a card at the Post Office.

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