CONSERVATIVES have pledged to reform Post Office card accounts so that families without bank accounts can benefit from the lower energy and water tariffs offered to customers paying by direct debit.
This could cut the energy bills of up to four million Post Office Card Account (POCA) holders by up to £100 a year.There are eight million people in the UK who do not have a bank account or are effectively without a bank. Many of them use card accounts instead. But because they cannot pay their bills by direct debit, they face higher prices for gas, electricity and water.
A Conservative government will reform card accounts so that they can be used for the first time to pay utility bills by direct debit. This proposal, which is supported by leading utility companies, will bring significant savings to energy companies through lower collection costs, which can be passed onto consumers in the form of lower bills.
In addition, because state benefits are automatically paid into Card Accounts each week, customers will benefit from a more convenient way of managing their finances and paying their bills.
This policy could also generate up to £20 million a year in additional revenue for post offices, which could help keep post offices from going to the wall as a result of Labour cuts. By contrast, the Labour Party is planning to take the Card Account away from post ofices, which will lead to more post office closures.
DR RACHEL JOYCE
Parliamentary Candidate Harrow West