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Post Office backs down

THE POST Office has agreed to begin offering mortgages to those living in Scottish islands after coming under criticism from local politicians.

It has announced that all major Scottish islands, including Shetland, will be eligible for the mortgages. Those living in smaller islands within Shetland are to be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Northern isles MP Alistair Carmichael, who called Post Office chief executive Paula Vennells last week to raise the issue, welcomed the decision.

“I am delighted that the Post Office chief executive has confirmed to me that she has already been able to extend the availability of these mortgages to mainland Orkney and mainland Shetland,” Carmichael said.

“She continues to work on the widest possible coverage and in the meantime all applications, wherever they come from, will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

“It is important that the Post Office offers services that are available to everybody in all parts of the country. This seems now to be understood by them and they are acting accordingly.”

Carmichael and other politicians, including Highlands and Islands MSP Jean Urquhart, had in recent weeks demanded an explanation for the discriminatory policy.

The problem was raised by a Shetland woman who received a letter promoting Post Office mortgages, only to discover she wouldn’t be eligible to apply.