Cash From Post Offices A Lifeline To Local Communities
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The Government's failure to promote the services offered by the Post Office has been described by a county MP as a "slap in the face for local sub postmasters"

With just under two months to go until the post office closure programme reaches Worcestershire, the Government's failure to promote the services offered by the Post Office has been described by a county MP as a "slap in the face for local sub postmasters"

Questioning Work and Pensions Minister James Plaskitt MP in the House of Commons on Monday, Peter Luff highlighted the fact that the Government was failing to make benefit claimants aware that they are able to withdraw cash from post offices through the Post Office Card Account (POCA). He explained that sometimes government bodies were even saying, quite wrongly, that POCA was due to end, while deliberately promoting other means of payment. He said:

"The single most important thing that the Government can do to ensure financial inclusion in remote rural and deprived urban communities is to ensure access to cash. In that context, will the Minister assure me that the Department will do all that it can to ensure that it and all its agencies give equal prominence in, for example, every letter sent to benefit claimants to the opportunity to obtain cash at the post office through the Post Office card account? Will he join me in deploring the Pension, Disability and Carers Service in particular, which has been actively misleading clients about the future of the POCA and, in many letters, failing even to say that it is available?"

Mr. Plaskitt responded:

"I believe that one letter was sent out locally that was incorrect, and we have retracted that statement and checked that the letters being sent out are correct. It is always our policy to ensure that benefit claimants or pensioners who wish to receive their benefits or pension in cash at a post office can continue to do so."

Commenting later Peter said:

"The Minister's response was complacent and misleading. There have been many examples of this occurring, as he well knows.

"It's shameful that while the Government is busy closing post offices up and down the country on the grounds that they aren't financially viable, they are at the same time deliberately undermining the post office network by refusing to promote the services they offer. POCA is a lifeline for these offices and it should be celebrated, not concealed from potential users.

"This attitude is a slap in the face to those sub postmasters and mistresses struggling to keep their post offices in the black, and for the communities fighting to retain their local service"


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