The cheque bounces back

The government said yesterday that it would scrap plans to abolish cheques after strong opposition from a variety of groups representing tradespeople, the elderly and disabled, and charities.

From the FT:

A controversial plan to abolish cheques has been scrapped, after banks were warned in parliament that they had “scared the pants off middle England”.

Worried members of the public sent more than one thousand letters and emails to MPs after it was announced that the 350-year-old payment system was to be phased out by late 2018.

The U-turn came after the government indicated it would intervene unless a suitable alternative was found.

The UK Payments Council, an industry dominated financial body, said on Tuesday that cheques would now continue to be available “for as long as customers need them.”

Commenting, MP for Cheadle Mark Hunter who originally launched the ‘Save the Cheque’ campaign through an Early Day Motion in Parliament in November 2009 said:

This is a great victory for people power and common sense, and proves the banks cannot afford to ignore the views of their customers.

After years campaigning alongside small businesses, charities and voluntary groups, who will welcome this with open arms, I am absolutely delighted by this news.

Commenting further, Co-chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Committee on Business Innovations and Skills, Lorely Burt said:

I’ve spoken to hundreds of small businesses who were concerned that the removal of cheques would drive up their costs and end up putting them out of business.

Today’s announcement means that those small businesses and tradesmen who rely on cheque payments can now be sure of their future.

Update:

Councillor Iain Roberts has more on his local MP’s victory while Peter Black AM is concerned that the allied decision not to allow debit cards to be used to guarantee cheques could mean that cheques may yet wither on the vine.

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6 Comments

  • Sorry to be a pedant but the government didn’t announce it was scrapping plans to abolish cheques. The payments council announced it was scrapping plans to abolish cheques under pressure from amongst others the government.

  • Dave Hennigan 13th Jul '11 - 9:56am

    This is great news, well done to Mark Hunter too on this and David Ward.

  • David from Ealing 13th Jul '11 - 12:20pm

    Great news

  • Austin Tate 13th Jul '11 - 5:09pm

    I should think so too.It was N I’ll conceived notion by financial houses who need to rean mo about customer service.

    The focus in the arguments to save cheques has been on smaller transactions and those not comfortable with online banking. But I see all the time reasons I must revert to cheques for larger transitions since the banks place ludicrously low limits on unitary electonic ttransfers such as needed to open term accounts in one financial institution using funds from another. And they also will not transact these using telephone banking either. Crazily the biggest banks like Barclays have the smallest limits even for long term customers with long online exeriemce. As someone who has never visited my bank branch for 40 years I find such restrictions a pain

    I found the suggestion that cheques woud disappear silly and thoughtless.

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