Declares that the Post Office Card Account should be renewed.
The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to renew the Post Office Card Account as soon as possible.
And the Petitioners remain, etc. [Presented byMr. Lindsay Hoyle , Official Report, 11 November 2008; Vol. 482, c. 742 .]
4 Dec 2008 : Column 4P
Observations from the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions:
The Government has now decided that a new contract will be awarded to Post Office Ltd. The contract will run initially from 2010 to March 2015, with the possibility of an extension beyond that.
The Government announced in December 2006 that there would be a successor to the POCA. Based on the legal advice received at the time, the Government put the contract out to tender.
The financial services world is far less certain than it was when the tender process began two years ago. Many people, particularly the most vulnerable in our society, are now more concerned about financial transactions and services in general. That is why we have decided to cancel this process and ensure that POCA remains with the Post Office.
The Post Office is a trusted brand, and it is seen as a safe, secure and reliable provider of services in these turbulent times. And there is no doubt that the POCA plays an important role in maintaining a viable Post Office network. It not only generates a key part of the Post Offices income, but also brings with it vital footfall to individual sub-postmasters. We recognise that many POCA customers will want to maintain their existing routine. The Governments decision will reassure those who feel they need the POCA during this period of uncertainty in the financial services world.