National Savings - the new Post Office scandal
I am very concerned at the recently-announced decision (1) by National Savings & Investments (NS&I) to deprive tens of thousands of its savers of the right to deposit their savings at the Post Office.
This is bad for the elderly, who want the security of depositing their money in person at their local Post Offices. Seven out of ten people over the age of 65 don't have access over the internet and many people don't like the idea of sending money through the post.
More than a quarter of a million savers have chosen the security of a cash ISA. Even though these accounts pay a poor rate of return, they offer security. This is especially important for the elderly, who are seeing their savings elsewhere under threat or earning them little or nothing.
The decision will also further damage the Post Office network and rob it of more regular customers, at a time when the Government are describing the Post Office as potentially a "people's bank".
NS&I's arguments hold little water. They say that that only 26 per cent of their customers use the Post Office to manage their ISA accounts: but what organisation disregards the needs of a quarter of its customers ? They also say that few vulnerable, elderly people would be affected. How many old and vulnerable people have to be affected before it becomes a serious issue ? This appears to be another 'slash and burn' approach to operational costs, regardless of "less profitable" customers' needs.
NS&I is a Government-owned savings institution. The Labour Party was elected to supposedly improve the lot of the elderly. At a time when the Government is pouring money into private financial institutions, it must spare a thought for NS&I and its customers.