Published: July 8. 2008
Burnham-On-Sea MP expresses fears for future of local post offices

Burnham-On-Sea's MP has this week expressed his fears for the future of post offices in our area if post office card accounts are scrapped.

David Heathcoat-Amory visited two post offices in the Burnham area, just days after the government announced the closures of nine more post offices in the Wells Constituency.

The MP said he is "very concerned" about the viability of those that remain, particularly if there are changes to the post office card account, which enables people to draw pensions and benefits from offices.

Mr Heathcoat-Amory told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "I visited two post offices in the Burnham and Highbridge area in order to support their campaign to retain the post office card account, which is vital for their business and allows people without bank accounts to obtain their cash."

"Many people, particularly pensioners, want to collect their cash at the post office in person. The accounts are a good way to do this and this is now under threat. Also, such visits by local people are very important to keep the rest of the post office open."

The MP met with Sub-Postmaster Thomas Hanlon, Sedgemoor District Councillor Diana Bayliss and Chairperson of the Parish Council Eileen Corkish at Mark Post Office.

Mr Hanlon told the MP that he is "disgusted" to hear the Government may remove the Post Office Card Account from local post offices. He said that at present 250 people in the village have a post office card account.

Mr Heathcoat-Amory later visited Sub-Postmistress Caroline Chennells at Brent Knoll Post Office, who told the MP that people of all ages use the accounts, and it is these cards that keep many post offices open.

"The overriding factor at both meetings was the grave concerns shared by all of those present regarding the long-term effect, not only on the post offices, but on village communities in general," said the MP.

"There is also growing concern that people are being left with no choice other than having their pensions and benefits paid into a bank account."

The government is considering scrapping post office card accounts as part of a modernisation and cost-cutting exercise.

Pictured above is MP David Heathcoat-Amory at Mark Post Office with Councillor Diana Bayliss, Sub-Postmaster Thomas Hanlon and Chairperson of Mark Parish Council, Eileen Corkish; and (beneath) the MP with Brent Knoll Sub-Postmistress Caroline Chennells




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