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Post Office Card Account

Volume 485: debated on Wednesday 10 December 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he plans to take to promote the Post Office card account. (240326)

We provide information which helps customers choose the account which best meets their needs and circumstances, including making the Post Office card account easily available to those who need it. And more than 10,000 new Post Office card accounts are opened on average each month.

We have already made changes to the booklet being sent to existing cheque customers so that it explicitly refers to the Post Office card account. We have also updated the messages that staff use when speaking to customers to reflect the fact that the Post Office card account will now continue until at least 2015. Other communications material will be kept under review.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with reference to the Statement of 13 November 2008, Official Report, columns 967-68, on Post Office card account, what estimate he has made of the level of reasonable costs for which the Government will provide compensation to unsuccessful bidders. (241022)

We are currently discussing with the other bidders who were still in the competition at the point at which it was halted the details of their reasonable bid costs to be reimbursed. The precise amounts payable are still to be decided and will be subject to commercial confidentiality.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what legal requirements applied to (a) the decision to put the Post Office card account contract out to tender and (b) the ending of the tender process and the award of the contract to Post Office Limited. (241203)

[holding answer 8 December 2008]: The decisions to put the contract out to tender, and the decision to end the tender process, were taken in accordance with domestic and European Union law, including the Public Contracts Regulations 2006 and EU Directive 2004/18/EC.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether any claim for compensation has been made by a bidder in the terminated Post Office card account tender process. (241336)

We are currently discussing with the other bidders who were still in the competition at the point at which it was halted the details of their reasonable bid costs to be reimbursed.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reasons the Government has concluded that the cancellation of the Post Office Card Account contract tender process does not require the agreement of the European Commission. (241405)

[holding answer 9 December 2008]: The decision to end the tender process was taken in accordance with European Union law (EU Directive 2004/18/EC—enacted through the Public Contracts Regulations 2006), so the need for specific agreement from the Commission did not arise.