As the only retailer in each nation, and every community across the UK, Post Office is there for everyone.
In fact, few businesses can say that they support the huge variety of people that we do. However, we also recognise that there are some groups and communities who depend on us in particular to get by and thrive day-to-day.
Post Office provides essential services to small businesses up and down the UK, who rely on us to deposit their cash at the end of the day or post items to their customers. In fact, two in five (43%) small businesses say they would only be able to keep going for a few months without the Post Office – the equivalent to a fifth of the UK economy or one in four UK jobs.
This makes us central to the UK’s underlying economic infrastructure. And our value to local businesses is set only to grow with time as banks and building societies continue to disappear – with over 4,300 closing since 2015. In fact, a quarter (28%) of small businesses already use the Post Office at least weekly to withdraw or deposit cash and our Cash Tracker illustrates how important we are becoming for cash services.
Elderly and Vulnerable Groups
Post Office plays a special role for our older or more vulnerable customers across the UK who depend on us. In fact, nearly nine in ten people (87%) agree that we’re an essential service for vulnerable or lonely people. With many at risk of digital exclusion, we are there, in person, for those who value a face-to-face interaction and physical presence on the high street.
Post Office is also a vital lifeline through which vulnerable groups can receive Government support, whether pensions, tax credits or benefits, including Universal Credit. In fact, only half (47%) of those aged 65+ say they would be able to find an alternative place to access pensions and social benefits. Moreover, we ensure financial inclusion for some eight million people who would struggle to manage their money without cash in the UK, as well as those reliant on our suite of in-branch payment services.
Rural and Remote Communities
We are proud to serve rural and remote communities across the UK. Over half of the Post Office network is based in rural areas, meaning we are embedded in rural life and often act as local community hubs. We also run “community” services to ensure that we can operate in even the remotest and most rural parts of the UK. These are often the “last shop in the village”, providing vital retail, mails and banking services together in one space.
In fact, Citizens Advice research indicates that rural consumers use post offices significantly more than their urban counterparts and access a wider range of services, especially postal and banking services. And our importance continues to grow over time. For example, people in rural communities have needed our services closer to their homes during the pandemic, while the sharp decline in rural banking services has meant local Post Office branches are more essential than ever.