Co-operative Group shoppers will be able to pay their council tax and housing rents at the Societies' stores under a new five-year agreement with Payzone.

More than 650 local authorities, housing associations and credit unions will be able to access the Payzone network, enabling customers to pay their bills thorough the stores.

"We want to be able to offer our customers the widest possible choice in terms of outlet coverage and convenience and this new agreement helps us to achieve this," said Co-operative head of public sector and community development

David Dunn.

Payzone bill payments director Linda Cook added: "Customers will find paying bills at local stores more convenient and aligned with their everyday lives, as they can now pay at the same time as buying a paper, or topping up their gas, electricity or mobile phone."