Spar has been accused of “discrimination” against Aberdeen’s poorest communities after announcing the closure of Post Office counters in its stores.
On Tuesday, following weeks of speculation, the chain confirmed it would no longer be offering postal services at its shops in Torry, Old Aberdeen, Kincorth, Northfield and Clifton Road.
The plans were branded “catastrophic”, and the announcement led to calls for a rethink.
Now one woman, whose petition on the subject attracted hundreds of signatures, has accused bosses at the chain of discriminating against some of the city’s most vulnerable residents.
Fiona Campbell, a carer who looks after dozens of residents in Seaton, gathered the support of more than 600 people in the community following initial rumours over the future of the Old Aberdeen Post Office.
She claimed residents – who lost their last remaining bank earlier this year as part of a raft of closures by TSB – had been “fobbed off”.
‘They think we are scum’
“This is a huge area and there are thousands of people who need that Post Office,” she said.
“Some people are not able to manage the bus fare into town and it’s too far to walk. How are they going to cope?
“We have been fobbed off. People rely on the Post Office, especially after we lost the bank, but they are not interested.
“They’re treating us like scum. It is all about class and money.
“It is clear discrimination against the poorer people of Aberdeen.”
C. J. Lang is yet to respond to Ms Campbell’s comments.
A spokesman previously said: “To ensure our continued operation in communities across the region, 31 stores will no longer be able to offer Post Office services.
“This decision has been carefully considered and comes after 18 months of negotiations with Post Office Limited.
“It is unfortunate that we find ourselves in the position of having to change the services we offer over the next six months.
“This is representative of the industry-wide pressures on retail outlets as we evolve to keep up with changing consumer habits.”
‘Huge blow’ to city communities
Meanwhile, MPs and MSPs in the city have written to Post Office chiefs urging them to find alternative locations.
MSPs Kevin Stewart, Jackie Dunbar and Audrey Nicoll and MPs Stephen Flynn and Kirsty Blackman all represent constituencies which are home to affected branches.
They wrote: “The Post Office should be considered a vital public service and we are deeply concerned that these closures will impact some of our most deprived communities in Aberdeen.
“People in these communities, particularly our older population, will now be forced to take a long, and often unaffordable, journey to access Post Office services.
“This is a huge blow to those who have relied on these services which form an essential part of our communities.
“We stand ready to support the Post Office in that regard so people in our communities are not, once again, left without such a critical service. No stone must be left unturned.”