Citizens Advice Dorset Calls for Guaranteed Access to Postal Services
Citizens Advice Dorset finds many people in the South lack a fixed address and a safe place to receive post and warns issue could worsen Covid hardships.
Citizens Advice Dorset has found that 13% of people in the South have been unable to receive their post at some point over the last decade.
In addition, 10% of people in the South have been unable to apply for services like healthcare, welfare, banking, and even jobs, because they lack an address to put on applications.
Research conducted by the national Citizens Advice charity found that these issues disproportionately affect people in unsafe and precarious living situations. This includes those who sleep rough or live in temporary accommodation, or those who have their post intercepted by an abuser.
With more people looking for work or claiming benefits because of Covid-19, Citizens Advice Dorset says it’s more important than ever for everyone to have guaranteed access to postal services.
The charity finds that across the region:
● 32% of people said they’d struggle to manage their finances without post ● 28% of people would either struggle or be unable to keep in touch with family or friends without post ● 78% of people say post is helpful or essential for managing their day-to-day lives
With 4.5 million adults across the country predicted to be digitally excluded by 2030, the charity warns digital methods shouldn't be solely relied upon to communicate vital information.
The national Citizens Advice charity finds that across the country over the last 10 years:
● 4.7 million people have missed appointments with key services, like court or employment related appointments, because of missed letters ● 3 million people have experienced some financial loss - an average of £850 each - as a result of not being able to receive post ● 3.6 million people have missed at least one healthcare appointment due to not receiving their post at an estimated cost of at least £223 million to taxpayers ● 1.8 million people have missed out on employment opportunities as a result of missing letters
Rovarn Wickremasinghe, Chief Officer, Citizens Advice Bridport, said: “We know that people across the South rely on post to access essential services and stay connected to friends and family. Our current system is designed around letter boxes, not people. It’s vital that change is made to ensure our postal system works for everyone.
“At Citizens Advice Dorset we’re seeing lots of people coming to us for help with redundancy, housing and welfare problems during the pandemic. This new research shows that lacking a fixed address or a place to receive mail can not only worsen these issues, but also hold people back from overcoming their challenges.”