HC Deb 23 March 2001 vol 365 c369W
Mr. Gorrie

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security if he will commission research into the practice of commercial operators paying out cash, subject to a substantial charge, for benefit and Housing Benefit cheques; and if he will take action on the findings. [154508]

Angela Eagle

We have no plans to commission research into commercial cheque cashing services.

No benefit recipient should have to pay for benefit cheque encashment. The facility exists for people without a bank account to return crossed girocheques to their local Benefits Agency office and have them replaced by lower value girocheques which can be encashed at a Post Office.

Most high street banks now offer basic accounts which are free to open and run. These are available to the majority of benefit recipients and can be used to clear crossed benefit cheques or Housing Benefit cheques issued by local authorities.