DON’T ABOLISH CHEQUES UNLESS SOMETHING AS GOOD CAN TAKE THEIR PLACE SAYS MP
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DON’T ABOLISH CHEQUES UNLESS SOMETHING AS GOOD CAN TAKE THEIR PLACE SAYS MP

The campaign against the decision of the UK’s banks to abolish cheques is gaining momentum, to the delight of Mid Worcestershire MP Peter Luff.

Peter took the issue up over a year ago with the Payments Council and more recently has written to the government expressing his concern that cheques should not be abolished unless acceptable alternatives were available. Now Mark Hoban, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, has added his weight to the opposition to the proposals. In a letter to Peter, Mark Hoban writes,

“The announcement by the Payments Council of a 2018 target date for phasing out cheques was, regrettably, made without an assessment of the costs and benefits, or a plan or timetable for managing the process, or an indication of what alternative payment instruments might need to be created. These things are only now being developed. The result has been to create a great deal of uncertainty and alarm across the country, particularly among those for whom other existing forms of payment are unsuitable – the elderly and housebound, schools, clubs and charities, rural communities, small businesses, and others.

“I am very clear that any alternative system will need to replicate the flexibility and ease of use of cheques, while improving processing times, and be cost effective. It will need to have been tested in practice, and be widely available, widely acceptable and widely adopted by users who do not currently have a suitable alternative. Until this is demonstrated, I do not believe that there is a credible and coherent case for abolishing cheques.”

Commenting, Peter said,

“This is very welcome. Too many small businesses, elderly people, charities and voluntary groups still depend on cheques to make abolition acceptable. The problem is, though, that they are being abolished by stealth, with the recent announcement that cheque guarantee cards would not work after the end of this month.

“My own bank dropped me a rather casual email last week “to remind me” that the Industry Cheque Guarantee Card Scheme was closing, but I can’t be reminded of something I was never told.

“I’m afraid this all too typical of the attitude of the banks to their smaller customers. I am delighted that the government is now firmly on the case. Cheques can’t be abolished irrespective of the consequences, despite what the banks appear to think.”

ENDS


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