§ Malcolm Wicks
We have given a commitment that all customers who wish to collect their benefit or pension in cash at post offices will continue to be able to do so.
The Post Office already has arrangements with some High Street banks—Girobank/Alliance and Leicester, Lloyds TSB, Barclays, Cahoot, Smile and Co-op Bank, and First Direct (Scotland only)—to provide their banking facilities free of charge to customers. The Post Office also provides a cheque cashing facility for customers of other banks, but a charge is made for this service.
From April 2003, these arrangements will be complemented with the main banks and the Nationwide Building Society making their basic bank accounts 634W widely available through post offices. The Post Office is also developing a Post Office card account. This will only be available through post offices and will allow benefit and pension customers to access their cash without charge at the post office.
§ Mr. McCartney
Customers who wish to open Post Office card accounts will need to discuss their account options with the relevant paying Department. They will then be given a letter to take to their Post Office branch where they will be issued with an application form. The Post Office plan to have available the card account service from April 2003.