§ Mr. Pond
I have been asked to reply.
The mailing exercise for Direct Payment began in October 2002.
The huge numbers of customers involved in the conversion process mean the changes are being phased over the period to 2005. This approach will ensure the process is carried out efficiently and with the minimum of disruption. Customers do not need to do anything until they receive a letter from the Department.
Key figures on the progress of conversion to Direct Payment are available in the Commons Library, updated every four weeks.
With Direct Payment there are accounts that allow people to continue to be able to collect their money at the Post Office. This has been made possible by the successful introduction of universal banking service in April this year.