Powys pensioners' exceptions service

A campaign by the Powys County Times could win a government concession which will affect millions of pensioners.

The paper has been calling for the Government to water down plans to scrap pension books in favour of automatic credit transfers by 2005.

According to local MPs, the Government is now looking into developing an “exceptions service” whereby pensioners who wish to can still be paid by cheques, which they can cash at post offices.

A petition signed by 4,600 County Times readers was delivered to Downing Street and the efforts of the paper were highlighted during a Commons debate on Thursday.

The signatures calling for a halt to plans to scrap the pension book by 2005 were presented by Montgomeryshire MP Lembit Opik and Brecon and Radnor MP Roger Williams.

Opik said that thanks to the efforts of the County Times, the Government was looking at the alternative cheque book based solution.

And Williams said: “The response to the County Times campaign is proof that a huge number of pensioners want to keep their pension book. It appears that the County Times is far more in touch with the wishes of the public than the Government.”

By Dominic Ponsford

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