Citizens Advice visit Island post offices

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As part of the work to monitor the number, locations and accessibility of Post Offices throughout the UK the Postal Policy Officer for Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS), Chris Donnelly recently visited the Western Isles to meet postmasters and find out about the needs of island consumers.

Mr Donnelly commented: “I would like to thank the postmasters and residents of Vatersay, Barra, Eriskay, South Uist and Benbecula who gave me such a warm welcome.

“It was clear that residents here value their post offices and that the individuals who run them are very committed to providing a good public service.

“However I think we all know that rural post offices can be difficult businesses to run, and unless they are attractive business propositions, new postmasters won’t take them on, which can lead to service interruptions for consumers and a poorer service for those living in the area.

“As many bank branches have closed, they are even more vital for our rural economies as many do not realise that they can do simple personal and business banking at many of the branches.

“We regularly work with Post Office Ltd and the Scottish and UK Governments to represent consumers using the branches and discuss how we can best support them.

“The UK Government has invested £1.4 billion in revamping the network and we want to ensure that consumers get value for money and that the changes respond to local needs.

“There are many success stories and by finding out what consumers want, we can help shape the future of these branches and hopefully ensure that they continue to serve our communities well.”

He added that Citizens Advice has also just released a report into unfair delivery charges for the HS postcode and has secured debates in both British and Scottish Parliaments to highlight this issue.

Mr Donnelly continued: “We will continue to argue for consumers in the Islands to be treated equally to anyone else in the United Kingdom.

“I was really impressed at the commitment to public service shown by the postal workers in the islands and how they have built up their businesses to respond to the local need.”

All Citizens Advice Bureaux deal with post issues, and feedback is always welcomed.

Residents can call into their local Citizens Advice Bureau in Castlebay, Balivanich, Tarbert or Stornoway if they would like to speak about their mail services.

They are also welcome to e-mail Chris Donnelly: {mailto: chris.donnelly@cas.org.uk|here} or phone Citizens Advice Direct on 0808 800 9060.