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Dales MP launches campaign to save local Post Offices

[Monday 30 October 2006]

A Yorkshire Dales MP has launched a campaign to save Post Offices in her constituency from closure as doubts continue as to whether the government will extend a vital subsidy.

In 2005 the Government presided over the largest ever annual closure of sub-post offices

Anne McIntosh - Vale of York MP

Anne McIntosh, MP for the Vale of York which includes Thirsk and the surrounding areas, launched her campaign to save local Post Offices after figures released by the House of Commons library revealed that the Vale of York has already lost 19 branches since 1999, and Miss McIntosh has expressed her commitment to opposing further closures.

Anne McIntosh said "Post Offices are a vital lifeline for local villages and I will campaign for their vibrant future. In 2005 the Government presided over the largest ever annual closure of sub-post offices. I am very disappointed that 3,000 post offices have closed since 1997, and even though the Government has provided funding until 2008 to prevent further unnecessary closures, I believe that we need to increase the number of services that sub-post offices offer instead of decreasing the number of services.

"The Post Office Card Account (POCA) is a bank account offered by the Post Office and is specifically designed for benefit, pension and tax credit customers to have their payments paid into. Around 4.2 million benefit and pensions customers regularly use their accounts to access their benefit payments. Given the fact that 84% of the rural population live within 1 mile of a Post Office, we begin to see just how vital they are.

Miss McIntosh continued: "Sadly the Government is simply not listening. When asked what replacement account the Government would offer to POCA holders, James Plaskitt, Junior Minister for Work and Pensions failed to reassure all to those who want to keep their POCA. It also means that the Post Office will lose around £200 million of revenue a year as a result of the scrapping of POCA. That loss of revenue will threaten the future of many Post Offices."

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