Budgeting accounts will be a useful help for some claimants both in supporting transition to universal credit and in terms of broader financial inclusion, in particular for those claimants who have not managed their money monthly before—that is an important category—or who have not been responsible for their own housing costs.
I am grateful for that answer. The demonstration projects have shown the value of jamjar accounts, and commercially they could have much wider application. In the tendering process, will my right hon. Friend pay particular attention to the unique possibilities of credit unions, given their local base and links with housing associations?
I will indeed. We are doing our level best; we are giving credit unions extra money and backing them enormously to get going. I think that they will develop hugely, and I hope that they will eventually replace the payday lenders—it is really important that we all agree about that. On the jamjar accounts and the way we are making these payments, everyone warned us that there would be problems if we paid housing benefit direct. We have trialled that in one of the demonstration projects and, importantly, only 3% of those who receive their housing benefit payments direct are having to revert to indirect payments because they have been unable to cope. That is a major advance from the existing local housing allowance.