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Post Office Network — [James Gray in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 9:30 am on 10th March 2020.

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Photo of Marion Fellows Marion Fellows SNP Whip, Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Disabilities) 9:30 am, 10th March 2020

Absolutely. I was outside Wishaw post office, which was temporarily shut, when a disabled constituent came to get her benefits. She did not have enough money to get on the bus to go to the next post office, which is a fair distance away. She could not have walked. She had to phone her daughter to come and collect her to take her to access cash. This is 2020 and that is still happening. People need cash. In a previous debate in this room, the then Chair of the Treasury Committee gave a forensic and detailed account of how post offices let down local people if they close, because access to cash is still vital to the most vulnerable people and to all of us. Most of the taxi drivers in my constituency do not accept cards, and that is the case across the UK. We cannot force people. The Government should not try, through Post Office Ltd, to force people to go down the digital and no-cash route.

Scotland is being hardest hit by the postmaster crisis across the UK. Although since 2009 post office numbers have remained reasonably constant, last year they fell by 1%, and since the early 1980s the number of post offices has almost halved.