C-store retailers have reacted angrily to government suggestions that ditching Post Office card accounts will not affect footfall.

The accounts are set to disappear by 2010 with customers urged to open private bank accounts instead. The move has prompted retailers and subpostmasters to voice concerns about the viability of their stores.

The government believes business levels will remain constant, but David Hankey, who runs Great Easton Post Office & Stores in Leicestershire, said government did not have a clue about life in rural locations. He added: “There has already been a change in footfall and we expect a further decline.”

Rural Shops Alliance chief executive Sean Carter said: “Despite the best efforts of Post Office Ltd to introduce new revenue streams, the government is undermining post office income.”