Committee to reopen cheques inquiry

Banks were accused today of ignoring the needs of millions of vulnerable people by pressing ahead with plans to phase out cheques.





The Treasury Select Committee said it was reopening its inquiry into the future of cheques as a result of continuing public concern over plans to abolish them by 2018.



The UK Payments Council, which is made up of the major banks, announced in 2009 that cheques would no longer be used by October 2018, as long as viable alternatives had been developed.



But the committee, which held an inquiry into the issue last year, said it was unconvinced by the Payment Council's argument that cheques were "in terminal decline".



Committee chairman Andrew Tyrie said: "The Payments Council has seemingly forgotten about the millions of people who are less at ease with the latest technology.



"We have been inundated by letters from the public telling us that they rely on cheques. Many charities, small business and vulnerable people - including pensioners - depend on cheques.



"Their needs must be considered. They should not be forced into shredding their cheque books."



He added that he was "shocked" that the Payments Council had not conducted a rigorous cost benefit analysis of its plan and called on it to "go away and do some number crunching".



The reopened inquiry will look at trends in cheque usage over time, including projections on the number that will be written in the next five to 10 years.



It will also focus on the advantages and disadvantages of abolishing them and the impact this would have on particular groups, such as pensioners.



Other areas that will be looked into include the costs and benefits of abolishing cheques, progress on the development of alternatives and the Payment Council's decision to close the cheque guarantee scheme this summer.



The committee will also be examining the structure and performance of the Payments Council, looking at whether it is sufficiently accountable for the way its decisions impact on consumers and how well it is delivering on its core objectives.



Age UK, welcomed the committee's decision, saying it had heard from many older people who were "really worried" about the issue and did not know how they would cope without cheques.



Michelle Mitchell, charity director at Age UK, said: "Scrapping cheques without there being a suitable replacement is not acceptable.



"If you find it difficult to leave the house, then cheques are often crucial in allowing you to pay bills securely and safely.



"Taking that option away could leave many vulnerable older people with no choice but to hand over their Pin numbers and cash cards to others, going against all the guidance given by banks."



The Payments Council said it welcomed the opportunity to update the committee on the work that needed doing before it took a final decision on abolishing cheques in 2016.



Richard North, chairman of the Payments Council, said: "We remain committed to being fully transparent and to keep consulting with those who still rely on cheques.



"This inquiry enables us to reassure consumers and businesses that cheques will not disappear unless we deliver on our commitments to make sure that acceptable alternatives are in place and available."

Independent Partners; request a free guide on NISAs from Hargreaves Lansdown

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
film
News
A model of a Neanderthal man on display at the National Museum of Prehistory in Dordogne, France
science
News
Dawkins: 'There’s a very interesting reason why a prince could not turn into a frog – it's statistically too improbable'
newsThat's Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome
Sport
Malky Mackay salutes the Cardiff fans after the 3-1 defeat at Liverpool on Sunday
footballFormer Cardiff boss accused of sending homophobic, racist and messages
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Amis: Taken to task over rash decisions and ill-judged statements
booksThe Zone of Interest just doesn't work, says James Runcie
Life and Style
life – it's not, says Rachel McKinnon
Arts and Entertainment
Eye of the beholder? 'Concrete lasagne' Preston bus station
architectureWhich monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?
Finacial products from our partners
Property search
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Money & Business

    Corporate Tax Solicitor

    Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - HIGHEST QUALITY INTERNATIONAL ...

    Relationship Manager

    £500 - £600 per day: Orgtel: Relationship Manager, London, Banking, Accountant...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: SThree Group have been well e...

    Test Lead (C#, Java, HTML, SQL) Kingston Finance

    £40000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A Global Financial Service Organi...

    Day In a Page

    Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

    Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
    Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

    Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

    Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
    Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

    Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
    Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

    Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

    Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape
    eBay's enduring appeal: Online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce retailer

    eBay's enduring appeal

    The online auction site is still the UK's most popular e-commerce site
    Culture Minister Ed Vaizey: ‘lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird’

    'Lack of ethnic minority and black faces on TV is weird'

    Culture Minister Ed Vaizey calls for immediate action to address the problem
    Artist Olafur Eliasson's latest large-scale works are inspired by the paintings of JMW Turner

    Magic circles: Artist Olafur Eliasson

    Eliasson's works will go alongside a new exhibition of JMW Turner at Tate Britain. He tells Jay Merrick why the paintings of his hero are ripe for reinvention
    Josephine Dickinson: 'A cochlear implant helped me to discover a new world of sound'

    Josephine Dickinson: 'How I discovered a new world of sound'

    After going deaf as a child, musician and poet Josephine Dickinson made do with a hearing aid for five decades. Then she had a cochlear implant - and everything changed
    Greggs Google fail: Was the bakery's response to its logo mishap a stroke of marketing genius?

    Greggs gives lesson in crisis management

    After a mishap with their logo, high street staple Greggs went viral this week. But, as Simon Usborne discovers, their social media response was anything but half baked
    Matthew McConaughey has been singing the praises of bumbags (shame he doesn't know how to wear one)

    Matthew McConaughey sings the praises of bumbags

    Shame he doesn't know how to wear one. Harriet Walker explains the dos and don'ts of fanny packs
    7 best quadcopters and drones

    Flying fun: 7 best quadcopters and drones

    From state of the art devices with stabilised cameras to mini gadgets that can soar around the home, we take some flying objects for a spin
    Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

    Joey Barton: ‘I’ve been guilty of getting a bit irate’

    The midfielder returned to the Premier League after two years last weekend. The controversial character had much to discuss after his first game back
    Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

    Andy Murray: I quit while I’m ahead too often

    British No 1 knows his consistency as well as his fitness needs working on as he prepares for the US Open after a ‘very, very up and down’ year
    Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

    A descent into madness in America's heartlands

    David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
    BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

    BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

    Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home