Mr. Jim Callaghan
asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will extend to retirement pensioners living in the United Kingdom the same facility to have their pension paid directly into a bank account as is given to those retirement pensioners living abroad.
§ Mr. Deakins
A person living abroad is paid by payable order unless special arrangements have been made with his country of residence. The order is normally sent direct to him or his agent for294W payment into a bank, and this facility is already available also to pensioners in this country. However, direct payment into a bank account may be made for security reasons where a large payment of arrears is to be made to a pensioner abroad, or where the absence abroad is temporary. Only some 8 per cent. of pensioners abroad are paid in this way. The possibility of a wider use of direct payment into bank accounts, for pensioners both here and abroad, has recently been the subject of discussions between the Department and the Inter-Bank Research Organisation, but no decisions have yet been reached. It would, in any event, be some time before such a system could be offered as an alternative method of payment.