Committee to reopen cheques inquiry
Thursday 14 April 2011
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: See how much you could save by switching credit cards. Compare now
interviewThe producer and activist, Trudie Styler, whose film 'Filth' is up for five film awards, is tapping into the industry's neglected female talent
musicBlack Sabbath have pulled off one of rock music’s great comebacks – against all odds
theatreTheatre's hitmaker Daniel Evans on 'Oliver' and bringing 'The Full Monty' to the stage
interviewHer estate has become the nation's glossiest food empire
food + drinkMichelin-starred Tom Sellers on being this year's hottest property
tvParents (and kids) rejoice! A new wave of fantastic family entertainment is here
booksGeese, gorillas, grandads... and growing up
food + drinkHow one grocery e-tailer is gearing up for the Yuletide rush
food + drink
travelFor broadcaster Mishal Husain, a long-haul Club Med holiday was a chance for her family to explore its sense of 'zen' and 'animation'
food + drinkFestive snacks don't have to be fiddly, says Bill Granger
Simon Read: Readers think I should cough up and pay for a tradesman's travelling time
No television licence leads to debt woes after court fines add up
Mark Dampier: Small can be beautiful for those investors who think long term
Tax boost for social investment will unlock £500m
Five ways to make money on the internet
- 1 Hundreds arrested as Canadian police smash worldwide paedophile ring
- 2 Is this the scariest advert ever? Japanese tyre commercial comes with its own disclaimer and health warning
- 3 Sherlock series 3: Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman provide teasers for the biggest comeback in British television
- 4 A forgotten episode in Russian history leaves links with the Philippines
- 5 People will try to reduce Mandela to a lilting reggae tune about ‘love’. They will fail
- < Previous
- Next >
iJobs Money & Business
£80000 - £100000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Harrington Starr: Project Manag...
£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Harrington Starr: Business Analy...
£30000 - £40000 per annum + Bonus and Benefits: Harrington Starr: A global Con...
£150 - £250 per day: Cornwallis Elt : iPhone Rollout- Blackberry Enginee...
Day In a Page
A three-bedroom Grade II-listed mews house with vaulted ceilings and roof garden
A spacious Grade II-listed family home with annexe and equestrian facilities among four acres of land in Itchingfield
A four-bedroom home with exposed brick walls and open fires in the picturesque village of Northill
A Grade II-listed property with five bedrooms and unique tower, overlooking Hastings Old Town
A charming five-bedroom detached family home, set within half an acre in Kew
A two-bedroom maisonette set on the top two floors of a period building, close to Kentish Town Tube.
Take advantage of the extra space provided by former stables and outbuildings at this five-bedroom farmhouse.
This three-bedroom Victorian terrace is near to Queen’s Road Peckham station, Nunhead station.
A five-bedroom modern house with terrace, swimming pool, Zen treehouse and large carp pond
An unexpected gem with four bedrooms, remarkable vaulted reception and a galleried study area
A five-bedroom house in one of Lymington's most sought after tree lined avenues, moments from the marinas and sailing clubs
A grand early 19th century B&B close to the historic harbour, with four en suite bedrooms
A four-bedroom, 17th century home with walled gardens, a landscaped terrace, cellar and open fires
A six-bedroom house with five bathrooms and four reception rooms spread over 4,000sq ft of luxury living space
A stunning three double-bedroom apartment with two decked terraces in the exclusive gated community, Bromyard House
A 10-bedroom period, family home amid beautiful surroundings in the centre of the Wentworth Estate in Longcross village
A stylish three-bedroom apartment with two bathrooms and private landscaped garden, moments from Fitzroy Square
A Grade II-listed Elizabethan barn with landscaped gardens, exposed elm beams and four bedrooms, all with lovely views
A six-bedroom family home, dating back to 1280 with four reception rooms, barn, swimming pool and tennis courts in Harwell
A spacious two-bedroom flat, refurbished to a very high standard with private landscaped garden, close to Kentish Town station
An exceptional two-bedroom apartment with balcony and underground parking in the centre of Richmond
A one-bedroom, luxury, duplex apartment in the grand landmark building, Imperial Hall
Run a fabulous boutique shop, live above it in a one-bedroom flat and let a second one-bedroom flat that comes part and parcel
A Grade-II listed, thatched cottage in Hundleby village, with five bedrooms, a coach house and three and a half acres
A spacious two-bedroom flat in the heart of Hoxton Square with wooden floors and roof terrace
A five-bedroom family home with stunning pool and gym complex set among two acres of land
A six-bedroom period house with heated swimming pool and a separate two-bedroom annexe cottage in Townlake, £795,000
A spacious and contemporary two-bedroom flat arranged over three floors, with garden patio close to St George Square, £600,000
A one-bedroom flat in a beautiful Regency building opposite the beach in Kemp Town, £190,000
A two-bedroom flat with London skyline views close to Surrey Quays. £395,000.
A seven-storey tower with three bedrooms and a stunning roof terrace. Guide price: £850,000.
A 16-bedroom country pile with nine reception rooms, four self-contained flats and a 13th century Peel Tower. £850,000.
A classic six-bedroom Victorian Manse house 10 miles from Edinburgh. £495,000.
John Lennon's childhood home in Liverpool to be sold at auction. Guide price: £150,000-£250,000.
A six-bedroom detached period property with secluded gardens, ample parking and a double garage in Rye, £675,000.
A large split-level property with three double-bedrooms and roof terrace, close to Crouch End Broadway, £625,000.
A charming barn conversion in the picturesque Cotswold village of Ilmington with three bedrooms, a detached garage, workshop and beautifully manicured gardens £675,000.
A three-bedroom new build, ground-floor flat with two bathrooms, close to Bermondsey tube, £445,000.
A three-bedroom house in an enviable new development moments from Oxshott High Street, with secluded garden and decked area, £385,000
A two-bedroom split-level flat with stunning south-west facing roof terrace in the popular Brondesbury Conservation Area, £549,950.
A charming 16th century, three-bedroom detached house in Bidborough with picturesque garden