HC Deb 28 May 2004 vol 422 cc84-5W
Mr. Berry

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what progress has been made, following representations by the Royal National Institute for the Blind, regarding the provision of tactile markings that will be issued as part of the Department's exception scheme to facilitate blind and partially sighted people's identification of them amongst other postal items they might receive. [177311]

Mr. Pond

Many blind and partially sighted people have no problems using cash machines or the PIN pads at Post Offices.

We will use cheque payments for those who we are unable to pay into any sort of account.

We want to ensure that cheque payments meet the needs of blind and partially sighted people in these circumstances and I have met the RNIB on a number of occasions to discuss this.

We carefully considered the RNIB's suggestion to include tactile markings on cheques. But such markings would make cheques more easily identifiable and, therefore, more susceptible to theft before they reach the customer. Cheques with such markings would take longer to process through the banks' clearing system.

However, we are continuing to work closely with RNIB. And if security and other technological improvements make this a viable Option in the future then we will, of course, look again at the provision of tactile markings on payment cheques.

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