South Down MLA Colin McGrath (SDLP) has said: “My Newcastle Office has been inundated with constituents who have received letters from the Department for Communities about the payment of their social security benefits.
“These letters which are from the Department for Communities indicate, ‘We are paying your benefits into a Post Office. You are now expected to use a bank, building society or credit union account.‘
“Whilst I fully welcome the addition of the Credit Union as a banking facility and I am delighted at the extra services they now offer, I wish to advise people that the Post Office continues to be an option.
“I feel that this letter is worded in such a way that discourages the use of the Post Office as a banking facility.”
Mr McGrath added: “Post Offices, particularly in the rural area, are an integral part of our community and need to be retained. I am fully opposed to any striping back of post offices services.
“So I wish to reiterate benefits can still be paid into a Post Office account. I have now raised my objection with the Private Office of the Department for Communities.”