§ Mr. Webb
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the written statement of 11 May 2004,Official Report, columns 6–7WS, on vulnerable customers (payments by cheque), whether claimants who report late or missing payments will automatically be informed that emergency payments can be made to them both inside and outside of post office opening hours. 
§ Mr. Pond
We will ensure that people get the money they are entitled to. Where a cheque payment does not arrive by the due payday, the customer should initially contact the office, which normally pays their benefit or pension. Arrangements for replacement payments will vary depending upon the individual circumstances and needs of each customer.
Paying by cheque is a well-established method of payment that the Department has used successfully since 1968. We already have procedures in place for dealing with missing payments. We will ensure they continue to meet the needs of those customers paid by cheque.
Customers reporting non-receipt of a cheque will be provided with all information and guidance they need about collection and cashing of replacement payments where this is appropriate.