§ Rev. Martin Smyth
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what has been the impact of the Government's plan to encourage payment of social security benefits by automatic credit transfer rather than through local post offices in Northern Ireland; how many of those entitled to such payments in Northern Ireland have opted for automatic credit transfer; and what percentage this represents.
§ Mr. Chris Patten
Since the introduction of the facility to pay retirement pensions, widows benefits and child benefit by automated credit transfer, 20,283 beneficiaries have opted for payment by this method; this represents 4.7 per cent. of those entitled to such payments.