Rocketing energy costs could force Post Offices to shut without support | Personal Finance | Finance


This winter, people and businesses across the country are struggling with deepening cost-of-living pressures. Post offices are no different.

The Energy Bill Relief Scheme was introduced to support non-domestic energy users with energy bills, but this scheme is due to end on March 31, 2023.

It is crucial we show continued support for vital businesses, including post offices, and maintain this help to keep our country connected.

A couple of weeks ago, I visited one of my local post offices in Blackpool, where I saw first-hand the fantastic work that Azim Shaikh, the postmaster at the branch, does for the local community – just like the thousands of other postmasters across the UK.

Post offices are crucially important to local communities, providing essential services for people every day to access the support they need, especially the older and more vulnerable.

This is particularly true this winter, with millions relying on post offices to access any support that the Government is already making available to help them pay their monthly energy bills, as well as accessing cash or topping up gas and electricity meters.

In fact, between October 2022 and March 2023, post offices expect to issue around 7.8 million Energy Bill Support Scheme vouchers to 1.3 million pre-pay energy customers – a lifeline for those impacted most by rising energy costs.

However, it is clear that post offices need our support too. Branches, like Azim’s, have seen their energy costs double in recent months and, without continued support, many may be forced to close their doors.

Post offices contribute so much to the national and regional economies – we cannot allow this to happen.

On a local level, rural communities would be hit hardest by any post office closures, as many post offices are considered the last shop in the village and the only accessible option for people to receive government support.

Nationally, Post Office Ltd. and its 11,500 branches contribute nearly £5billion to the UK economy a year.

This contribution cannot be overlooked.

With the Government currently reviewing the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, I urge the Chancellor of the Exchequer to continue support, especially for our post offices and keep our communities connected.

We’d be lost without them.

Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here