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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much the Government will save following the introduction of automated credit transfer for the delivery of benefits payments from 2003; and how much money the Government provide to post offices for administering benefits payments.
The move to payment directly into bank and building society accounts assures a safe, convenient, more modern and efficient way of paying benefits and pensions and will bring very substantial savings. Against this, we will incur some additional costs, including those to Post Office Ltd. for the provision of the new card account at the Post Office. The precise costs will depend on the number of card accounts.