Campaigners in the UK are worried that changes to a card account used in Post Office branches could be a precursor to thousands of closures.

The alarm was raised after reports emerged that some benefit claimants would no longer be able to access their money or pension allowance using the card account at Post Office outlets.

The government had already stated that the card accounts would close by 2010, with payment services transferring to banks instead. However it appears that new pension and benefit claimants are already being refused access to the accounts at post offices, hence the fear that the government has surreptitiously began a campaign to run down many smaller branches.

It is scaremongering to suggest that any of our planned changes are about shutting down post offices. In fact, we want to work with the Post Office to plan how we can best manage the change and ensure they are delivering services fit for the 21st century, said a spokeswoman for the government’s Department of Work and Pensions to Channel Four television.