Delighted to help save the POCA

I WAS delighted by the recent government announcement that the new contract for the Post Office Card Account (POCA) will be awarded to the Post Office when the current deal expires in 2010.

It was important that a decision was made quickly to reassure the public that in the future they would still be able to easily access essential finances during this difficult economic climate.

In my Cardiff West constituency there are 9,120 people who use the POCA system and 489 of these people sent me lobby cards expressing concern that they would no longer be able to access their account at the Post Office.

I would like to thank those people for contacting me and for their support as I campaigned within government to keep the contract with the Post Office.

The card account is an ultra simple finance account that allows people to access their benefit, state pension or tax credits and this means it was important it stayed with the Post Office.

Many banks have closed their branches in smaller communities so keeping the Post Office open is very important.

For most people the Post Office is in easy reach which allows card users to access their finances closer to home and that is vitally important for the older residents in my constituency or those that suffer with mobility problems.

I hope this move will also help provide an extra income for the Post Office as it provides many other valuable services that the community needs to access.

The government has awarded the Post Office a subsidy of £1.7 billion and this will allow the Post Office to move forward and continue to be an important facility and social hub for the people of Cardiff West and beyond.