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Pensioners denied cash at post office

PUBLISHED: 11:31 16 January 2009 | UPDATED: 15:50 07 September 2010

Eileen Crawford was unable to collect her pension as post office had no Cash

Eileen Crawford was unable to collect her pension as post office had no Cash

© Nigel Sutton 17 Redington Rd,London,NW37QX. Phone 020 7794 3008. email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

Sanchez Manning DOZENS of elderly people have again been denied their pensions after more mix-ups at the Edgware Road post office. Pensioners queued up on Monday for their weekly payments - only to be informed that staff were unable to pay them. Confused

Sanchez Manning

DOZENS of elderly people have again been denied their pensions after more mix-ups at the Edgware Road post office.

Pensioners queued up on Monday for their weekly payments - only to be informed that staff were unable to pay them.

Confused and angry pensioners were advised to go to other branches or return the next day.

Customers were under the impression that the branch had run out of cash, which has happened twice previously.

But it now appears the problem was caused by a technical hitch.

Eileen Crawford, 66, from the Church Street area, arrived to collect her only income with just 25p left in her purse.

"When I heard the payments were not being made I thought, 'oh, not again,'" she said.

"I said, 'I thought you would guarantee this wouldn't happen again'. But the woman behind the counter said they couldn't guarantee anything.

"I've never known a post office do this. I just didn't understand what was happening. They know people are going in to get their pensions on Mondays."

Another elderly customer said: "Isn't it marvellous. You work all your life and then you can't even get your pension."

Edgware Road has struggled to cope with increased numbers of customers since the Lisson Grove branch last year as part of Royal Mail's sweeping closures.

After the growth in demand, the branch was unable to pay out pensions on two occasions last September because they were lacking funds.

Manager Yasin Haneef blamed the cashflow problems on Post Office Ltd.

He said the company's system set the limit of how much money the branch could hold each day but had no mechanism to increase the amount when needed.

He said this inability to respond quickly when funds were running low was the reason for the recent pension problems.

"When we realise we need extra money we request more from Post Office," he said.

"But they won't give it straight away because they want to check our records first and will not give us the money until the following day. The system is not good enough."

But a spokesman for the Post Office said: "We can confirm that the branch did not run out of money yesterday. However, there was a temporary technical hitch at the branch which restricted service for a short time.

"This has been resolved and a full service is running today. The system works very effectively across the network and individual branches work to ensure they have sufficient stocks.

"Any instances where this does not happen are extremely rare and are investigated fully.

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