During the Spending Review 2000, a public service agreement target was set at paying 85 per cent. of benefit and pension customers into an account by the end of 2005. We met that target by January 2005 and are now paying over 96 per cent. of customer accounts by Direct Payment.
We always recognised however that there would be a small number of customers who we could not pay into an account and the cheque service was designed to pay these customers.
As at April 2005 we were paying some 712,000 customers by cheque.