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Session 2005 - 06
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Supplement to the House of Commons Votes and Proceedings
30 June 2006

SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM RESIDENTS OF OXFORDSHIRE AND OTHERS [FOUR PETITIONS]

22nd June 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of residents of Oxfordshire and others,

Declares that the Petitioners are extremely concerned about the scale of debt in the Oxfordshire NHS. The existing Thames Valley Strategic Health Authority receives one fifth less than the national average of NHS spending and if Oxfordshire was simply funded halfway towards the national average there would be no debt. This means the NHS in Oxfordshire has one fifth less to spend on acute hospitals beds, drugs provision and staff.

Further declares that of all Trusts in England, it is Oxfordshire which receives the lowest funding for treatment per patient. Government Ministers, including the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Health, will be benefiting by funding above the national average to the tune of sums by which Oxfordshire PCTs will be underfunded.

Further declares that the blatant discrimination in the funding system for the NHS is not fair, cannot be justified, and means that in Oxfordshire NHS jobs are under threat, community care is under threat, mental health care is under threat and operations and beds are under threat.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons calls upon the Government to urgently review the funding system for the NHS in England and Wales, to introduce fairer funding for the whole NHS, to stop staff, patients and families in Oxfordshire and other parts of the country being penalised.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM MRS JOY CROFTS AND OTHER CUSTOMERS OF THE GRAFTON UNDERWOOD SUB POST OFFICE

26th June 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of Mrs Joy Crofts and other customers of the Grafton Underwood Sub Post Office,

Declares that the Petitioners believe that the post office network provides a vital service to local communities in both urban and rural areas which are threatened by the Government's withdrawal of services from local post offices.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons call on the Government to reverse its announcement that it will end support for the Post Office Card Account in 2010 thereby threatening the viability of thousands of post offices and urge the Government to immediately halt its activities designed to kill the account off in advance of that date.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM PENSIONERS AFFECTED BY THE FREEZING OF THEIR PENSIONS

27th June 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of pensioners affected by the freezing of their pensions,

Declares that whereas 96% of State Retirement Pensioners are properly granted annual uprating of their pensions, 4% are unjustly deprived of annual uprating, despite having paid the same mandatory contributions to the National Insurance Fund throughout their working lives.

While pensioners residing in 38 countries receive annual indexation, in 54 of the 58 former British Commonwealth countries, proper annual pension uprating is denied.

Expropriation of pension indexing originated in the long-past sterling crises of the post WW II period as part of an effort to reduce the exporting of currency.

Justification for the long extension of this original action has changed with ensuing years, and is now emphasised as a need to relieve poverty among UK resident pensioners, even in the face of the current 36 billion National Insurance Fund surplus, and despite the fact that the continued refusal to grant uprating to 4% of pensioners saves less than 1% of the pensions budget.

Current Government claims as to the already achieved eradication of pensioner poverty plainly negate the alleged justification for this continuing deprivation wrought upon randomly selected pensioners abroad, including those of a venerated wartime generation.

The Petitioners therefore call on the House of Commons to urge the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to establish forthwith absolute parity in the payment of fully uprated pensions to all state pensioners.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM THE PEOPLE OF CHIPPENHAM, WILTSHIRE, AND THE SURROUNDING DISTRICT

27th June 2006

To the Honourable the Commons of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled.

The Humble Petition of the people of Chippenham, Wiltshire, and the surrounding district,

Sheweth

That they strongly support the continuing services of Chippenham Hospital, which provides local people with a wide diversity of healthcare at a very high standard, and which relieves the burden on the neighbouring general hospitals in Bath and Swindon.

Wherefore your Petitioners pray that your Honourable House will urge the Secretary of State for Health, and under her, Kennett and North Wiltshire Primary Care Trust, to maintain, preserve and enhance the Chippenham Hospital.

And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray, &c.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

PETITION FROM USERS OF NUNNEY POST OFFICE, SOMERSET

28th June 2006

To the House of Commons.

The Petition of users of Nunney Post Office, Somerset,

Declares that the post office is under threat of closure because some of its main income sources are being removed. Rural post offices act as community centres, as outlined by the attached list of activities in our own post office.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urge the Government to act to stop the closure of any more rural post offices.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


SUPPLEMENT TO THE VOTES AND PROCEEDINGS

Observations by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on the Petitions [23rd May] from Councillors and residents of the East Devon District Council area against government plans to end Post Office card accounts [two Petitions].

    The Post Office card account contract runs between 2003 and 2010. The card account will be funded by the Government until 2010 as always planned.

    Some customers mistakenly think that the Post Office card account is the only account which can be used at post office branches. Around 25 or so different accounts can be accessed at post offices, as well as the Post Office card account, and we hope there could be more in the future. People can still choose to get their benefits and pensions at the post office.

    There are around 20 million people who could access their bank account at a Post Office, but only around 10 per cent (2 million) per week actually do so.

    There is no real difference in accessing money at the post office via a bank account compared to a Post Office card account. Customers can collect the same money, on the same day, at the post office, just as they have done with the Post Office card account.

    Post Office Ltd itself accepts the limited functionality of the Post Office card account and that an alternative product could and should do more to improve financial inclusion, as well as providing the Post Office with new income. At the Treasury Select Committee Inquiry into financial inclusion on 9th May 2006, Alan Cook, the Managing Director of Post Office Ltd said:

    "You cannot do much with it at all, you go to a post office, you take the cash out. If you take too much out by mistake you cannot put any back in. It literally is an encashment vehicle. I think we can produce a card account that has more capability, which would enable you to access cash in different ways and pay bills. I believe that would be a big step forward for current customers that we regard as socially excluded who do not wish to make, for whatever reason, the bigger step towards taking out a current account. We could produce a successor vehicle."

    Post Office Ltd has already introduced one new savings account, and is developing other savings and banking products which are likely to be more attractive to many of its customers than the current Post Office card account.

    Government is backing the efforts of the management of Post Office Ltd to turn the business around and create a network fit for the 21st century. Government has invested over 2 billion in total since 1999 to help them to do so. The Government wants to see a Post Office network that can prosper on the basis of today's and future needs and not on those of 20 or 30 years ago.

28th June 2006



 
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Revised 30 June 2006