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Social Security Benefits: Post Office Card Account

Volume 472: debated on Thursday 21 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the administrative cost to his Department of paying benefits into Post Office card accounts was in each year since April 2003; and how many and what proportion of benefits claims were paid into Post Office card accounts in each of the last 10 years. (185594)

The following table shows (a) the cost of paying benefits into Post Office card accounts, (b) the number of benefit accounts paid into a POCA, and (c) the proportion of benefit accounts paid into a POCA, and for each year since the Post Office card account was introduced in April 2003.

Financial year

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07

2007-08

Cost of paying benefits into POCA (£ million)

76

138

159

152

1148

Number of benefits accounts paid into a POca2 (million)

0.04

1.95

4.5

4.36

4.15

Proportion of benefit accounts paid into a POca2 (percentage)

0.2

10

23

22

20

1 Includes forecast for final quarter of financial year.

2 Figures have been provided by DWP Information Directorate and are based on snap shot as at October of that year.

Note:

Figures refer to the number of benefit accounts live and in payment on the specified date, and not the number of benefit claims, customers, or POCA accounts. People in receipt of more than one benefit/pension are counted for each separate benefit/pension in payment. People who have their benefit/pension combined and paid at the same time are only counted through the paying benefit. The figures shown for 2003 and 2004 reflect the fact that customers were gradually being migrated from order books during this period.