1. Mr. Gresham Cooke
asked the Postmaster-General whether he will arrange for the limit on weekly withdrawals from Post Office savings accounts to be raised from £10 to £20 so as to allow wages paid by cheque to be more easily encashed, and for deposits to be withdrawable in less than eight days where a cheque from a depositor's employer has been paid in.
§ The Postmaster-General (Mr. Reginald Bevins)
To raise the limit for withdrawals on demand would greatly increase the amount of losses by fraud. As regards the second part of the Question, since the purpose of the Post Office Savings Bank is to provide for savings and not for current-account business, I am sorry could not justify the elaborate special procedures which would be required to enable deposits by cheque to be cashed more quickly.
Mr. Gresham Cooke
Should not the Post Office be more willing today to help in the payment of wages by cheque? Should not it be quite possible to make an arrangement with a local firm which is using this method of paying wages so that the cheques can be encashed through the Post Office and more than £10 can be drawn out at any one time?
§ Mr. Bevins
We have looked at that possibility, but it is not possible within the framework of the Post Office Savings Bank. It would, of course require Post Office Giro and, as my hon. Friend has explained on more than one occasion, we do not think that a venture of that sort would be self-supporting. As regards frauds, there is no doubt that if the limit were to be raised frauds would increase. Our losses last year amounted to about £130,000.