The decision by the Westminster Government to award the new Card Account contract will be made imminently, with two companies bidding to run the service – Post Office Ltd and Paypoint.
The National Federation of Sub Postmasters estimates that 200 Post Offices in Wales, and up to 3,000 across the UK, could close if the contract is not awarded to Post Office Ltd.
Commenting on this warning, Plaid Cymru’s Penri James said:
“I share the growing concern that withdrawing the card account service from our Post Office will result in further branch closures throughout the country. As a result, it’s essential that the Westminster Government takes the important social contribution that our post offices provide while awarding this new contract rather than relying on commercial considerations alone.
“Gordon Brown’s government should be taking steps to strengthen the Post Office network rather than withdrawing important services from our branches. I am however glad that the One Wales Government is working with our local Post Office branches through the new Post Office Development Fund”.
Representatives from the National Federation of Sub Postmasters will attend the debate. Keith Richards, from Glynneath Post Office and Executive Officer for Wales warned:
“If the Card Account is not awarded to the Post Office Limited then more than 200 post offices could close across Wales, and 3000 across the UK because of a lack of business. This would be an unmanaged closure programme unlike the recent network change scheme, and would hit primarily rural areas where people are very much reliant on them to pay out Pensions and Benefits. Post offices would have to make a decision on whether they could stay open or face bankruptcy.
“The Government in London seems to be fudging the announcement and the longer the uncertainty goes on, the more worrying it becomes. Sub-postmasters can not invest in their business if they do not know what the future holds”.