My right honourable friend the Minister for Business, Innovation and Skills has today made the following Statement.
The Post Office is one of this country’s oldest institutions, but the Government believe it still has a vital role to play in today’s society, and in the future.
In December 2009, the Government published a consultation on Post Office Banking, setting out its vision for banking at the Post Office based around four values: universal; accessible; trusted and sustainable. The scale of the response showed a clear desire for the Post Office to do more.
The Government’s response to the consultation, which is being published today, sets out the expanded role we want the Post Office to play:
making affordable credit more readily available by working closely with credit unions;
increasing financial inclusion, by providing local access to more high street bank accounts;
giving children their own account to allow them to save at their local Post Office; and
providing a way for people to manage their household bills, with a new account that will allow those on low incomes to take better advantage of direct debit rates for energy and water bills.
The document also sets out new measures on mortgages, access to business banking, and a Post Office current account which would be available in all of its 11,500 branches. These new products will add to the wide range of banking products and services already on offer at the Post Office—credit cards, insurance, loans, foreign currency, and savings.
The measures the Government are taking mark a step change in banking at the Post Office. They also demonstrate the Government’s ongoing commitment to the Post Office network. A commitment the Government are backing up with a £180 million of new government funding for the network for 2011-12, beyond the £1.7 billion that is already being invested from 2007 to 2011.
Copies of the Government’s response to the consultation will be available in the Vote Office, the Printed Paper Office and will be deposited in the Libraries of the House. The consultation document will also be accessible online on the department’s website.