Rachel Reeves, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee has commented on the move by Barclays Bank to stop its customers withdrawing cash from post office branches.
Rachel Reeves, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee said:
“Barclays need to think again. This unjustifiable decision from Barclays to stop customers accessing their own money from post offices is a deeply retrograde step which lets down customers, undermines the post office network, and potentially leaves people in many places without access to their own cash.“Access to free cash withdrawals at post offices is vital, especially to those who are elderly and vulnerable. This decision comes at a time when, across the banking sector, high-street branches are closing and free cash-points are under threat. It’s essential that the future viability of the post office network is secured and unfortunately this decision from Barclays suggests they are forgetting their wider social responsibilities. The Business Committee has been examining the future of the post office, including looking at options for branches to provide more banking services, and we expect to come forward with a report and recommendations later this month.”
As part of its inquiry into the post office network, the Committee questioned (on 25th June), Minister Kelly Tolhurst and BEIS Department officials on issues around the provision of banking services in post offices and on the stability and viability of the national post office network. The session also examined the range of services offered, the franchising of Post Offices and problems facing sub-postmasters, the reduction of Government subsidies, and the long-term resilience of the service.
In the first session of this inquiry, the BEIS Committee questioned on 21st May witnesses from the Communication Workers Union, National Federation of Sub-Postmasters, WH Smith PLC, Association of Convenience Stores, and Post Office Ltd about a range of issues affecting the Post Office network.