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Access to Benefits: Post Offices

Volume 680: debated on Monday 14 September 2020

What steps she is taking with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to ensure that vulnerable people have access to welfare benefits through Post Office services. (905894)

Ministers in the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy worked closely with the Post Office to ensure that vulnerable customers were able to access benefit payments during lockdown. It remains the case that at least 99% of customers with a bank, building society, credit union or Post Office card account can already access their benefit or pension payments at post office branches or post office ATMs.

Some 1.23 million people do not have a bank account. Given the DWP’s decision that new benefits or state pensions will no longer be collected using the Post Office card account, with the scheme officially closing in November next year, how will the Minister ensure that an estimated 300,000 vulnerable people can still access their benefits?

Any customer with a building society or credit union account will be able to continue to access their benefit or pension payments at a post office, even after the closure of the Post Office card account, including all bank accounts. There is also the ability to open a basic bank account, for which assistance can be given.