HC Deb 10 July 2000 vol 353 c372W
Mr. Caton

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if claimants who wish to receive their benefits in cash, and who have no other bank account, will be required to open a new Universal bank account under the Government's proposals for switching benefit payments to ACT. [129605]

Mr. Alan Johnson

From 2003, the normal method of paying benefits and pensions will be directly into bank or building society accounts. Those who wish to collect their benefits in cash from the post office after 2003 will still be able to do so.

The establishment of the Universal bank will provide the means for any recipient to have an account for benefits to be paid into, and accessed across a post office counter using a card rather than a benefit book. However, we also recognise that there may still be a small number of people and payments which the Benefits Agency will be unable to pay by ACT. For these, we are considering what alterative simple money transmission system, which could be accessed by post offices, may be commercially available.