Delyn MP David Hanson has welcomed Labour’s moves to back a secure future for the Post Office. There will be more banking services for local people following an overwhelmingly positive response to the Government’s consultation on the future of the Post Office.
The Labour Government is to provide £180 million of new funding for the Post Office. There will be a major expansion of the financial services offered by the Post Office, in a drive to put banking back into the heart of communities and making the Post Office network of 11,500 branches more sustainable.
David Hanson said:
“This is great news for our Post Offices. People have made their views clear and Labour has listened. We will get more services provided by the Post Office.
“This will open up a range of good value, simple financial products for everyone. Today marks a major step towards making the Post Office a sustainable neighbourhood banking service.”
Lord Peter Mandelson said:
“Since the global banking crisis we have set about reinventing the financial services industry piece-by-piece, building a system that is fairer, trusted and more responsible.
“Today is the next step in that process. The Post Office is a well-loved community institution and this move will bring more banking services back to the heart of those communities.”
These new measures build on recent announcements in the Budget. They show that the Government will continue to work to improve the supply of affordable credit for low-income households, including by supporting third sector lenders.
The Labour Government has also announced an intention to consult on making sure banks make an appropriate contribution to community lenders, proposing using a new community levy to be funded by retail banks that will support a link between credit unions and Post Offices.
Notes to editors
1. The Post Office is one of the UK’s fastest growing financial services providers, and the country’s number one foreign currency provider. Today’s announcement is the next step towards turning the Post Office into a leading player in financial services.
2. At the Budget, the Government also announced that all retail banks will be placed under an obligation to provide a universal service, with a legal requirement to offer a basic bank account to everyone who needs one, and has a valid address. Other measures already announced include new rules requiring responsible lending, affordability checks and cooling off periods for consumers; and a clampdown on credit card lending practices, expected to save consumers £300million a year.
3. On 29 September 2009 the Prime Minister announced that he wanted a much bigger role for Post Office in providing financial services, to increase the accessibility of reliable financial products for consumers and small businesses.
I. With over 11,500 branches nationwide, the Post Office is the largest retail and financial services chain in the UK. Its network is larger than all of the banks in the UK combined.
II. All new funding for the Post Office is subject to state aid approval.
III. Over 99 per cent of the UK population lives within three miles of a Post Office branch and over 20 million customers visit every week.
IV. The Post Office already offers a range of financial services, including savings, insurance, lending, and foreign currency products.
V. The measures reinforce the Government’s commitment to a secure and sustainable future for the Post Office and follow:
· the decision in November 2008 to award the network a new contract for the Post Office card account;
· Lord Mandelson’s announcement last year that the Government would not support a further programme of Post Office closures;
· the five year contract signed between Post Office Limited and the DVLA in March 2009 that will allow drivers to renew their photocard driving licences at Post Offices using new, world-class technology and
· Working with the UK Border Agency the Post Office is trialling biometric enrolment technology at seventeen Post Office branches nationwide giving foreign nationals more accessible venues to apply for an ID card.
4. The consultation response is available from: www.bis.gov.uk/postofficebanking