15 July 2008
Cheque payments for pensions and benefits must continue
John Barrett, Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West has taken action to help over 400,000 pensioners and benefit recipients who could be forced to receive their payments through direct payments to bank accounts, rather than by cheques that can be cashed at local post offices.
Mr Barrett has backed a Parliamentary motion calling on the Ministers to recognise that direct payment methods are not appropriate for the most vulnerable members of society, and that cheque payments must continue to be an option for those who need it.
John Barrett said:
“Cheque payments are a flexible method of payment suited to people who are not able, or simply do not wish to open a bank account. Friends and family are able to cash cheques on behalf of those who may not be able to get to their local Post Office to receive payments.
“When the Government phased out the old order books from 2003, they recognised that cheque payments were still needed for those in society least able to cope with the change. Now the Department of Work and Pensions are pressurising some of the most vulnerable people in society to change their whole routine for the sake of a few efficiency savings.
“The Government must continue to provide a flexible service that recognises the daily needs of the most vulnerable members of society, rather than trying to make life easier for the Department of Work and Pensions.”
1) Early Day Motion 1968 reads:
That this House notes that around 400,000 people currently choose to receive pension and benefit payments by Department for Work and Pensions cheques; further notes that the Pension Service is pressing those recipients to receive the benefits through direct payment into a bank account; recalls that in 2004 the Government recognised that recipients who require a cheque payment were likely to include those who are least able to cope with change; therefore urges the Government to again recognise that direct payment is not an appropriate method for some of the most vulnerable members of society; and calls on the Government to continue to allow cheques to be used as a means to withdraw state pension and benefits at local post offices.