We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Possible Council U-Turn on Post Office Charge Could be too Little, too Late for Threatened Branches say Lib Dems

August 29, 2008 9:00 AM

The abolition of the charge that Bedford Borough Council has forced upon residents paying their council tax bills at the post office since 2006 has moved a step closer after the Mayor bowed to pressure and declared his support for a review of the policy.

The charge was introduced in April 2006 in the face of fierce opposition from the Liberal Democrat Group, which was the only group to oppose the move. It has been extremely damaging for local post offices, which have seen reduced footfall as a result. Liberal Democrats say that any move towards removing the unfair charge is welcome, but it may have come too late for the eight local post office branches facing closure.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Group Leader Cllr Dave Hodgson said:

"It is good news that the Mayor may be changing his mind on this issue, particularly following indications from the Tories that they are also set to perform a u-turn. Sadly, however, it may be too little too late for those local branches facing closure. In the two-and-a-half years since the charge was imposed branches have suffered the consequences of reduced footfall at a time when the local council should have been supporting local post offices.'

"News that the decision is set to be reviewed is good news, however. It is shameful that thanks to Labour and the Tories local residents are punished for using their local post office branch to the tune of an extra charge of nearly £25 per year. This review must result in the scrapping of that charge. It is effectively an extra council tax on those who use the post office, who include many of the most vulnerable in our local communities including pensioners, those with mobility problems and those without access to full banking facilities."