Post Office Network

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:30 pm on 28th June 2000.

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Photo of Stephen Byers Stephen Byers Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry 3:30 pm, 28th June 2000

The right hon. Gentleman will know from experience the way in which the transaction costs are negotiated. He also knows that the Government are not involved in the details of the transaction costs of those commercial negotiations. There is no reason for post offices and sub-postmasters to receive less than they currently receive in transaction costs. Nothing in today's statement will lead them to receive less. It is a matter of commercial negotiation.

The right hon. Gentleman asked whether the number of transactions will diminish. That depends on whether the Post Office can persuade people to choose to have their benefits or pensions paid in cash at post offices. The individual will have that choice; that is perfectly appropriate. The right hon. Gentleman knows that the current order book system has massive potential for fraud. We calculate that approximately £100 million a year will be saved by preventing fraud through the introduction of the universal bank system. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will be prepared to support that saving.