Citizens Advice – universal postal service still needed by vulnerable

As many as 14% of UK adults have been unable to receive their post at some point in the last ten years, according to research from Citizens Advice.

The charity has shown that those who haven’t been able to receive letter mail are the vulnerable, homeless and disabled living in precarious and unsafe living situations.

Citizens Advice argues that the same people are often affected by the ‘digital divide’ where they are unable to access government and other communications related to welfare benefits or even jobs through the internet. In having limited access to letter mail so they fall through the net.

This is why the charity is arguing there is still a major need for a universal postal service. Dame Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: “People rely on post to access essential services and stay connected to friends and family. Though the government rightly aims for universal access to post, our current system is designed around letter boxes, not people. It’s vital the government acts now to ensure our postal system is truly universal.

“We’re seeing millions 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. There is a serious risk that if the issue is not addressed millions of people risk falling through the cracks.”