Post Office Card Account

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 30th March 2006.

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Photo of Andrew Turner Andrew Turner Shadow Minister (Cabinet Office)

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will list the (a) public documents, (b) web pages and (c) standard letters sent to hon. Members and constituents in which he has referred to the interim nature of the Post Office card account and which were published before 1 October 2005; which referred to a date by which the Post Office card account would be withdrawn; and if he will place copies in the Library.

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

We have always made clear that the limited features of the Post Office card account meant that payment into a bank or building society account was likely to be the best option for the vast majority of our customers. This was set out in the response from my right hon. Friend, Mr. Alexander to the then hon. Member for Kettering (Phil Sawford) on 17 December 2001, Hansard, columns 119–20W.

The Government has a wider financial inclusion agenda to increase the number of people who own, and use, bank accounts. While the Post Office card account provides some customers with a useful stepping stone" towards mainstream banking it does not amount to full financial inclusion. This was set out in Promoting Financial Inclusion" issued on 2 December 2004 along with the Chancellor's pre Budget report.

In his reply to the then Member for Perth (Annabel Ewing) on 4 February 2005, Hansard, column 1196W, my predecessor Chris Pond stated that the Post Office card account contract would end on 31 March 2010. The Government will provide funding for the Post Office card account until then as always planned.

Copies of Promoting Financial Inclusion" and relevant copies of Hansard are already in the Library.

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