10 Mar 2011

Citibank contract is another nail in coffin for PO

I just want to make a quick blog here to vent my anger that Citibank will now provide over the counter service for welfare payment disbursement from 2012. This move will surely be the final nail in the coffin for Britain's network of small community post offices?

Picture: by Russ
"People, particularly those on a low income, value the security and privacy that post offices provide. We are concerned that many convenience stores will not be able to provide the kind of service many consumers need." Andy Burros from the watchdog, Consumer Focus
The government said it would make the "Post Office the front office for public services" but I fail to see how this will achieve that. Indeed the coalition's plans to sell off the Royal Mail will further undermine the Post Office network as I've noted before. According to the Communications Workers Union, over 1,000 UK Post Offices were either closed or put up for sale in 2010. Local closures and relocations are already leaving hundreds without adequate access to this vital public service.

Demo against Post Office Privatisation - Sat 12 March assemble 11am at bandstand in Gloucester Park and March to Shire Hall.

It was the former business secretary Peter Mandelson's efforts and the Labour Government that got this ball rolling on liberalising the UK's postal services. Now the Tories are following - selling off key public goods and services to the highest bidder. The Greens are the only party to consistently fight against postal privatisation at every level. 
"People in rural areas rely on these services from the post offices and if people can’t get cash, it’s going to damage the local economy. If people have to drive to get their money, it’s making them more dependant on their cars or if they haven’t got a car, it’s making them more and more isolated. It’s one more step towards isolation and making rural communities less viable."
Dr Nic Best, regional policy officer for the Campaign to Protect Rural England

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