City hit by higher costs of getting bills by post

UTILITY firms and bank charging for statements by post is costing customers more in Glasgow than anywhere in the UK.

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A Glasgow MP has backed a nationwide campaign to stop firms charging for paper statements and bills.

Ian Davidson, MP for Glasgow South West, has given his support to the Keep Me Posted campaign to ensure customers receive postal statements at no additional cost.

Increasingly banks, utility firms and other services are withdrawing paper statements from customers and then charging those who wish to continue with a paper copy.

But research by communications regulator Ofcom has shown that Glasgow has the lowest internet take-up of all the UK's cities.

Only 57% have access to the internet leaving them with no alternative but a paper bill.

Mr Davidson said people should not be penalised for not being on the internet.

He said: "It is important my constituents are able to choose how they receive important financial information.

"Customers should be entitled to free paper statements as part of the standard service they receive.

"Levying hard-working individuals who either don't have online skills, cannot afford computers or broadband, or are unable to manage their affairs online for various reasons is unfair and we must fight against it."

The Ofcom study last year found Glasgow to have the lowest internet take up in the UK.

Almost half of the population have no access, many of them elderly or disabled.

The study found the city's take-up compared to a UK average of 83%. The city with the next lowest take up, Birmingham, was still far greater than Glasgow with 76%.

A separate study of social attitudes by the Carnegie Trust has suggested there are two types of people in Glasgow with no access. The majority, 57%, were categorised as "potential users" who are interested in being online in the future, while 43% had no interest and were classes as "rejecters".

The Keep Me Posted campaign is a partnership of charities and interest groups including Age UK, Disability Action, and mental health charity Mind.

Judith Donovan, Chairman of Keep Me Posted, said "Our research has shown 81% of people feel they have a better chance of reading statements if they are available by post.

"With increasing pressure on customers from banks, energy providers and telecoms companies to move to digital bills and statements, we have long felt it is only a matter of time before we see a negative impact on people's finances."

stewart.paterson @eveningtimes.co.uk

Finance

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