§ Mr. Clifton-Brown
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to ensure that existing bank account holders do not have to open a different bank account in order to receive their benefits from the Post Office. 322W
§ Mr. Pond
The Government want as many people as possible to be able to do their banking at Post Office branches and welcomes Post Office Ltd.'s efforts to secure agreements with other banks. The decision is ultimately a commercial one which rests with the individual institutions.
Universal banking services already provide access to the basic bank accounts of every High Street bank plus the nationwide Building Society at Post Office branches as well as the Post Office card account. In addition, more than 20 million customers of Lloyds/TSB, Barclays and Alliance and Leicester can access their accounts electronically at Post Office branches
Also current accounts customers of Alliance and Leicester, Barclays, Lloyds/TSB the Co-operative Bank and the internet banks smile and cahoot can access paper-based banking services which enables them to cash cheques at Post Office branches, free of charge.