Below is the text of Mr Major’s Parliamentary written question on Benefits, published on 18th January 1980.
Mr. Major Asked the Secretary of State for Social Services if he intends changing the arrangements for paying social security benefits; and if so, whether he has taken account of the effect on post offices of any changes.
Mrs. Chalker The Government are fully aware of the importance which local communities, particularly those in rural areas, attach to the availability of post offices and the services which they provide. At the same time, however, the Government are concerned to cut out waste and improve efficiency. As part of this campaign a small team of officials in consultation with Sir Derek Rayner has been examining arrangements for paying social security benefits. This examination has included the frequency of payments and whether the public should be able to choose payment of their benefits direct into a bank account. Changing the arrangements for paying benefits offers scope for saving taxpayers’ money by reducing administrative costs, but the Government will not lose sight of the social consequences of any changes in benefit payment arrangements. I am considering the study team’s report and I shall be discussing it with Sir Derek Rayner shortly. Any changes emerging from this study will be made only after the most careful consideration and proper consultation.