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Smarter way to dole out benefits.

Bank cashpoint machines could soon dispense benefit allowances.

Claimants could draw out cash on a plastic "smart card" now being developed.

The radical scheme drawn up by ministers aims to slash red tape, improve services and cut time-wasting in queues.

Claimants' cards - with their own PIN number - would be automatically credited with their benefit payments.

Smart cards could also be used by people in "electronic kiosks" for other services, such as checking their tax position, signing on for benefit or registering as self- employed.

And instead of going to the Post Office to pick up their road tax, they could key in their insurance and MOT details by computer and pay by credit card.

Ministers say the plans are part of a massive "electronic Government" attack on red tape.

They aim to give information round-the-clock in special kiosks in petrol stations, supermarkets, town halls, Post Offices and libraries.

The Government are working with computer firms and High Street banks on the smart card.

Public Services Minister David Clark said: "We're getting close to a breakthrough.

"We want to deliver Government services 24 hours a day."

Officials are also working to avert fears of "Big Brother" interfering in peoples' everyday lives.
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Author:Morris, Nigel
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 27, 1997
Words:200
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