Protest against closure of cash offices in Kirklees

PROTESTERS will demonstrate tomorrow against the controversial closure of council cash offices.

PROTESTERS will demonstrate tomorrow against the controversial closure of council cash offices.

Union members from Unison will be outside offices in Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Cleckheaton and Batley.

They are collecting signatures against the move and urged members of the public to join in the demonstration.

Earlier this month Kirklees Council announced plans to close the cash office in Huddersfield, in the Civic Centre 1 building, which has dealt with 43,000 transactions in 2008-09. Other offices could also be hit.

The cash offices allow residents to pay council tax and rent by cheque or cash over the counter and to get advice on payment.

The eight staffed counters will be replaced by automated kiosks next door at the Kirklees Information Point.

Unison spokesman Mick Ryan said: “The council does not understand that people cannot afford to pay bank charges.

“The staff at the offices provide a vital service to the electorate from all walks of life. How will a machine help people understand what is going on?

“How long will it take to put £1,000 in a machine a note at a time?

“People go to Batley, Cleckheaton and Dewsbury to pay their way.

“Some weeks a million pounds can be paid in cash – how long will that take in £5 and £10 notes – it is a joke.”

The council said the move will save nearly £200,000 in the next two years.

Kirklees cabinet member for regeneration Clr Christine Stanfield has defended the move.

She said: “In the current economic climate this automation has been necessary to save money.

“We would like to reassure people that there will be no job losses as a result of this relocation and there will no disruption in service to the public when the cash office is automated.

“We anticipate customers will find the kiosks easy to use and any inquiries will be dealt with quickly and efficiently by the experienced staff in the Kirklees Information Point.”

Alternative methods of payment include: direct debit, standing order, cheques by post, bank giro credit, debit card, Post Office/paypoint and credit card.

 

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