Benefits/Pensions (Payment Methods)

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 20 June 2005.

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Photo of Malcolm Bruce Malcolm Bruce Liberal Democrat, Gordon

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimates were made prior to the introduction of Direct Payment of the proportion of people for whom this method of paying pensions and benefits would be unsuitable; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of James Plaskitt James Plaskitt Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department for Work and Pensions

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.

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