HC Deb 16 December 1999 vol 341 cc264-5W
Mr. Field

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security, pursuant to his answer of 6 December 1999,Official Report, column 372W, what part of the benefit payment modernisation programme will not be completed until 31 December 2005; and when the computerisation of the entire Post Office network will be completed. [103000]

Mr. Rooker

Within the Payment Modernisation Programme, the Department will move away from paper based methods of payment to payment by Automated Credit Transfer (ACT), a more modern secure and efficient way of paying benefits.

It is envisaged that the migration of customers from orderbooks and girocheques to ACT will take place over a two year period beginning in 2003 and completing in 2005. This will be managed carefully and in a way that will not put at risk the efficient distribution of benefit payments. Benefit recipients who wish to do so will continue to be able to access their benefits in cash at post offices.

The automation of the network of almost 19,000 post offices is due for completion in 2001.