Hackney Council’s payment counters to be replaced by self-service machines in cost-cutting move

Hackney Town Hall, in Mare Street.

Hackney Town Hall, in Mare Street. - Credit: Archant

Parking permits, visitor parking vouchers, council tax and rent will all have to be paid for online, through the post or at machines when Hackney Council shuts its cashiers’ office next month in a cost-cutting move.

From 5pm on December 23 people will no longer be able to pay by cash or cheque for council services at the payment counters in Hillman Street behind the town hall.

Instead there will be self-service machines there that accept cash and debit or credit cards.

Business rates, leaseholder charges and parking fines can also be paid at the machines.

The council says the closure will save money and “make services more convenient”.

The move is a response to an expected £30 million of expected cuts from central government over the next four years.

The council’s finance chief, Cllr Geoff Taylor, said: “We know that for some people using other ways to pay can be a challenge, but they shouldn’t worry.

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“The number of people using the cashier’s payment counters is falling all the time as more residents choose other, easier ways to pay and manage services they receive from the council.

“More people than ever are moving online to shop and use day-to-day services while also paying by card, not because they are forced to but because it is a lot more convenient.”

The council estimates that each time a resident makes contact with one of its workers face-to-face, the cost is over £8, compared to 35p each time a resident pays online and 17p for a direct debit instalment.

Customers who need parking visitor vouchers are being advised to buy them at least two weeks in advance of any visits or to have a stash of vouchers to cover any unplanned visits.

Residents can also pay for council services with ‘All Pay’ which is available in post offices and other shops displaying the ‘All Pay’ logo.

The council has also launched the One Account, which is a free, quick and simple way for residents to use, pay for and manage council services online.