Post Office closures to affect Britain's most vulnerable

08 March 2007
Plans to close up to 2,500 post offices across the UK could disproportionately affect Britain's most vulnerable low-income groups, Citizens Advice has warned.

The local Post Office is a crucial hub for paying gas and electricity bills for 60 per cent of people over 75, according to the study.

Half of respondents over 65 and 47 per cent of those on means-tested benefits said they visited their post office several times a week.

"It is pensioners, disabled people and those living on low incomes who rely the most on their local Post Office for basic services," Citizens Advice senior social policy officer Sue Edwards commented.

Many would be unable to pay bills without taking expensive public transport to access their nearest Post Office, Citizens Advice believes, compounding the financial with the physical strain for the elderly or disabled.

MPs this week criticised the government's pledge that 99 per cent of the population will still be within three miles of a Post Office, pointing out that for some in rural areas, travelling those three miles would involve crossing a mountain.

The government consultation on closing the post offices concludes this week, ahead of a decision on whether to proceed.

Meanwhile, those who rely on Post Office services will begin to seek alternatives to take care of their personal finances.

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