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Volume 405: debated on Tuesday 20 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, pursuant to his answer to the hon. Member for North-East Hertfordshire (Mr. Heald) of 6 May 2003, Official Report, columns 544–45W, on benefits, what steps he has taken to inform customers who use a casual agent to collect their benefit that they will have the option of keeping their order books; and for how long he expects this arrangement to remain in place. [113099]

All customers will be supplied with information on all of the account options available to them. This will enable them to choose the most suitable account for their needs and circumstances.Those customers who feel that the account options available do not meet their particular needs should contact the Customer Conversion Centre on the freephone number, provided in their invitation letter, to discuss their circumstances.Order books are being phased out and will no longer be available after 2005. We are currently developing an alternative payment method to pay the small number of customers who are unable to open or manage an account.