Post Office chairman Julie Edge has refused to answer a House of Keys question about the decision to terminate a contract with a UK bank.

The contract with Santander UK, to process bank customers’ deposits through post officers, is due to stop on Monday.

Rob Callister (Onchan) has been a vocal critic of that decision and tabled a question for written answer in the House of Keys this week, asking for details of the value of Santander transactions carried out over post office counters.

But Ms Edge and the Post Office sought the permission of Speaker Juan Watterson to not answer the question, because it was ’commercially sensitive’.

She also cited contractual obligations, both to Santander and sub-postmasters.

Mr Watterson said that, after ’due investigation’, he was satisfied that was the case and agreed.

Earlier this year, Ms Edge said the service was proving a loss-maker for post offices but that talks were taking place to look at ’alternative ways of sustaining the service in a financially responsible way’.

In reply to another written question at this week’s sitting, Ms Edge said the contract position had been discussed with Santander in a conference call in January and in various email exchanges since.

There were also monthly ’business as usual’ phone conversations.

Mr Callister has argued that a lot of business would be lost as a result of the contract terminating, saying most pubs banked through the post office and Santander, along with many other retail businesses.

It is understood the Post Office demanded an increase in the commission it received, but Ms Edge has refused to enter into details.

Source: IoMToday