PENSIONERS will no longer be able to cash their giro cheque in their local Post Office unless they open a bank account.
Milngavie MSP Des McNulty is worried that many older people are unaware of this change after the coalition government awarded Citibank, working in partnership with PayPoint, the contract to provide a replacement giro cheque service.
Currently 250,000 pensioners across the UK, and many in the Bearsden and Milngavie area, use the giro cheque service and, if they do not have a bank account, will be forced to use PayPoint outlets in convenience stores and off licences instead.
Mr McNulty said: “Giro cheques are used by many pensioners, particularly those with limited mobility who rely on other people to access their cash.
“This announcement is a further blow to the sustainability of the post office, which is a lifeline for many older people across Scotland.
“Many people, particularly those on a low income, value the security and privacy that post offices provide.
“Their worry is that convenience stores, where these PayPoint machines are to be located, sell alcohol as well as groceries and may not be completely safe.
“Whatever the rights and wrongs of this decision by the Conservative-Lieral Democrat coalition, it is vital that older people are given all the information and the advice needed for a smooth switchover.
“I have asked for locations of where PayPoint outlets are in Bearsden and Milngavie and I hope that this information will be publicised through the local press and via pensioners groups in the area.”
A spokesperson for Post Office Ltd said: “While Post Office Ltd is disappointed not to have been awarded the ‘Simple Money Transmission Services’ (SMoTS) contract, we are pleased that the Department for Work & Pensions has outlined new plans for working closely with us in the future.
“This included three pilot schemes, universal credit reforms and strengthening links with Credit Unions.
“The commitment to fund the IT platform to link Post Offices to Credit Unions also offers a real opportunity for customers to benefit from our network of 12,000 branches across the UK and our skilled and trusted workforce.
“We will also work with all of our existing SMoTS customers to help them continue to get their cash at Post Office branches.
“They can do this either by switching to the Post Office card account or by using one of the many commercial bank accounts that are accessible at Post Office branches.
“Post Office Ltd has a vital role to play in the provision of Government and Local Authority services and all new business the Government entrusts to us helps us to maintain the network at its current level.”