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Benefit Order Books

Volume 406: debated on Friday 23 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to his answer of 6 May 2003, Official Report, column 545W, on benefits, how many contacts will be made with invited customers who fail or refuse to respond, before phasing out their order books; whether any order books have been phased out in respect of an invited customer who has failed to respond; and what steps he intends to take to ensure that such customers are not elderly and disabled people who qualify for the exceptions service. [113597]

We will be contacting all customers who fail or refuse to respond before orderbooks are no longer available, as we will need to make payment by another option.In the meantime there is no question of people not being able to get their money. 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 to discuss their needs and circumstances.Where customers genuinely are unable to manage an account they will be advised that, in the short term, they can retain their order book. However, order books are being phased out and will no longer be available after 2005.We are currently developing an alternative payment method to pay this small number of customers who are unable to open or manage an account.