Ministers slammed for “refusal to engage” on postal system’s problems

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Local MP Mike Weir has challenged ministers over their “refusal to engage” on the Post Office modernisation programme, which is seeing major changes to the network throughout Angus.

Mr Weir raised the issue during a ministerial statement on the renewal of the contract for the Post Office Card Account. While he welcomed the contract’s renewal, Mr Weir challenged the minister’s assertion that the modernisation programme was going well and that the POCA would be a stepping stone to mainstream banking.

He pointed out that in Angus many post offices are being moved or changed from stand-alone to local models with concerns about the loss of privacy in banking transactions.

Mr Weir also expressed frustration that ministers had simply “washed their hands” of the continuing difficulties with the Post Office network.

He said: “Ever since the passing of the Postal Services Act which privatised the Royal Mail and created a separate Post Office Limited UK government ministers have simply washed their hands of the continuing problems of the network, despite the fact it is taxpayers money that is financing the programme.

“In Angus we have seen huge changes proposed in the last few months in all areas of the county, yet Post Office Limited claim it is purely coincidental. Frankly that is now very hard to believe. In Kirriemuir, Forfar and Montrose we have one Post Office serving the whole town, and in Forfar and Kirriemuir both are proposed to transfer into other businesses losing some positions that provide privacy for banking transactions.

“It is unbelievable that such widespread changes are not planned, yet the company insist it is coincidental and ministers refuse to engage.

“This hardly inspires confidence that either of them have a real appreciation of the impact of these changes on local communities.”