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I make it clear to the House that, consistent with remarks I made in the Adjournment debate on
Let me deal now with the points raised by the hon. Member for Twickenham and set out how the management of Post Office Ltd. will drive forward innovations necessary for the network. The hon. Gentleman spoke at some length about banking. Universal banking services, together with the Post Office's plans for an expansion of network banking—the provision of counter services for ordinary current accounts—should lead to a substantial increase in the range and volume of banking at post offices, tapping into a much larger customer base than benefit recipients alone. David Mills' long experience in the banking sector equips him well to lead those developments.
The trend for existing network banking already shows strong growth. Excluding Alliance and Leicester's post office business, the average daily number of transactions grew from under 20,000 in April 2000 to more than 40,000 at the end of 2001–02.