Local Post Offices received a boost today as the Labour Government awarded the contract for the POCA service to the Post Office. The news will be welcomed by local post offices which rely on the business people picking up their pensions or benefits through the Post Office Card Account brings into branches. Around 6,620 people in East Ham have their pensions and benefits paid into these easily accessible accounts.

Welcoming the news Stephen Timms MP thanked local people for campaigning with him on the issue.

"This is great news for the post office. I have met with James Purnell to discuss this issue and 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.

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 has decided to cancel the current procurement exercise.

Labour’s Secretary of State for Work and Pensions James Purnell paid tribute to Stephen Timms MP for campaigning on this issue saying:

"I applaud Stephen Timms for standing up for people in East Ham and his local post offices. I know how important post offices are to local communities and this provides real help for these local businesses and their customers in tough times."

"This is the right decision for East Ham."

AuthorStephen Timms