Local Post Offices received a boost today as the Labour Government awarded the contract for the Post Office Card Account (POCA) service to the Post Office. The news will be welcomed by local post offices who rely on the business POCA brings into branches, as a result of people using their cards to pick up their pensions or benefits. Around 4640 people in Orpington have these account cards.
Welcoming the news Stephen Morgan, Labour’s Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Orpington, thanked local people for campaigning with him on the issue:
"This is great news for the post office. I am delighted that the government has listened to what I have been saying on behalf of local people. I would like to thank everyone who has stood up for local post offices and made their voices known on this.
With the financial crisis that started with the American banks now being felt here in Britain, people are feeling worried about their finances. Post Offices are often the only providers of banking services in local areas so this vote of confidence in the post office is very welcome."
The Labour Government has decided to award a new contract for the continuation of POCA directly to the Post Office. This announcement is good news for the Post Office as the card account is an important source of income and brings customers through the doors of post offices across the country. The National Federation of Sub Post Masters had said that, without POCA 3,000 Post Offices would close.>/p>
We announced in December 2006 that there would be a successor to POCA and put that product out to tender. However, in order to support a viable Post Office network the Labour Government have decided to cancel the current procurement exercise.
- The Post Office Card Account is a very straightforward account specifically designed to pay benefits administered by the Department for Work and Pensions, the Northern Ireland Social Security Agency, Service Personnel and Veterans Agency and Inland Revenue tax credits.
- Only benefits and pensions can be paid in and they are collected across a post office counter using a plastic card and PIN.
- About four million people receive their benefits and pensions this way, including around two million pensioners.