Payments for council services made through South Gloucestershire’s post offices and local shops have rocketed by 59 per cent in the last year, new figures reveal.
Despite strong opposition from Labour and Lib Dem councillors, the authority’s Conservative administration transferred its cash payments service out of council’s three offices and into the larger existing network of local shops and post offices.
This was done last year to give residents greater choice of payment locations closer to them, to support local businesses and to make savings that have since been re-invested into building the council’s fourth one-stop-shop in Patchway, which opened this summer.
But Labour and the Lib Dems voted against the plans.
New figures have now revealed that, prior to the changes in 2010, approximately 60,000 transactions were made for council services through local post offices and shops, but this year has seen the figure leap to 95,000, so an increase of about 35,000, or 59 per cent.
Cllr John Goddard, Conservative Cabinet Member for Corporate Resources, said:
“I am delighted that we have seen such a large increase in business being channelled through local post offices and shops since we introduced these cash payment changes, not to mention the much wider choice of payment locations available to residents, particularly the most vulnerable.”
“In addition, residents now have access to a new flagship council one-stop-shop in Patchway – funded in part by using the money we have saved through making these changes.”
“Putting more business the way of our shops and post offices is how we can help avoid any further damaging closures, like the sort ordered by the previous Labour government.”
“With the Lib Dems and Labour voting against channelling more council business through local businesses, it shows that only Conservatives are truly committed to supporting local traders and offering improved choice to residents.”
Source: Conservative Group on South Gloucestershire Council