Jean has written to the UK minister responsible for the Post Office, Lib Dem Jenny Willott, and the Managing Director of the publicly-owned company, Paula Vennels, to demand an explanation for the policy of refusing mortgages for properties on all Scottish islands except Skye.
The issue was raised by a Shetland woman who received a letter promoting Post Office mortgages, even though as an Islander she would be deemed ineligible to apply for one.
The Post Office’s mortgage lending criteria state: “Lending areas: England, Scotland (not Scottish Isles with the exception of Skye), Wales and Northern Ireland (unless otherwise stated).”
Ms Urquhart said:
“The local Post Office plays an absolutely central role in many rural communities, including in the islands. I would hope that relationship could extend to all of its services.
“When we have been so failed by the banks, a diversity of financial services providers is to be welcomed. Islanders should be able to benefit from that greater choice the Post Office provides.
“There’s no obvious justification for discriminating against the islands in this way. My hope is that this is an oversight by a distant official, and that the Post Office will quickly agree to scrap its ‘no island mortgages’ rule.
“But I’m already proud to back Citizens Advice in their fight for fair delivery charges to the north and the islands – if there has to be a fight for fair mortgages too, I’m ready.”