A TRADE union has slammed a decision to stop taking cash payments at most Kirklees Council offices.

Only Huddersfield and Dewsbury will retain cash offices.

Leaders of the local government union Unison said it would hit the poorest section of the community, who had no other means of paying their council tax, rents and other bills.

The union is urging the public to sign its protest petition.

Unison branch secretary Paul Holmes said: "This is a direct attack on the poor, unemployed, low paid and elderly.

"Many of them do not have debit or credit cards and this move will lead to increased debt."

Kirklees said last year that it was to merge its nine cash offices and 24 libraries to form 28 library and information centres.

The original plan was to take cash payments at 26 of the centres.

But the decision was reversed in March - leaving Huddersfield and Dewsbury as the only places taking cash.

Cash-taking will stop at offices in Meltham, Mirfield, Holmfirth, Skelmanthorpe, Batley, Cleckheaton and Heckmondwide, as well as not being introduced at new library and information centres.

Mr Holmes said: "This is an appalling reduction in services.

"Some politicians and senior managers have no idea how many ordinary people live."

Council chiefs said arrangements had been made for payments to be made at post offices.

Clr Kath Pinnock, the council's Liberal Democrat leader, said: "This will actually expand the number of places where cash payments can be made.

"There are more post offices near more people than our cash offices."

The changes would help post offices stay in business, she added.