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Post Office

Volume 407: debated on Tuesday 24 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what percentage of pensioners in Northern Ireland has opened new post office card accounts since their introduction; and if he will make a statement. [119765]

In Northern Ireland as at 30 May 2003, of the 24,762 pensioners in receipt of state pensions who have been invited to move to Direct Payment, 5,933 have indicated that they wanted to open a post office card account. This equated to 24 per cent. of those invited.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which banks operating in Northern Ireland have agreed to offer their customers automated cash access to their bank accounts at post offices. [119796]

The following banks operating in Northern Ireland, allow access to their basic bank accounts via an automated service over the Post Office counter provided by the teller: Abbey National, Alliance and Leicester, Bank of Ireland, the Co-operative Bank, First Trust Bank, Halifax, HSBC, Nationwide Building Society, Northern Bank and Ulster Bank.The Alliance and Leicester, the Co-operative Bank and the internet banks Cahoot and Smile also provide customers with access to their current accounts at the Post Office, using cheque books and guarantee cards.