asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he will arrange for pensions paid through his Department to be paid directly into a bank account.
Yes. We began to offer the option of payment direct into bank and building society accounts by credit transfer last month. New claimants to retirement pension, widow's pension and widowed mother's allowance are now able to ask for payment by this method when they make their claim. The option will be extended gradually to other recipients of these three benefits over the next 18 months. We plan to extend payment by credit transfer to mobility allowance, child benefit and war pensions in 1983 and to attendance allowance, where it is not already paid with retirement pension or widow's benefit, in 1984. In all cases payment by credit transfer will of course be entirely voluntary. Beneficiaries who do not wish to change from their present method of payment need do nothing.