Lib Dem MP launches bill to ‘Save the Cheque’

by Stephen Tall on November 6, 2010

Last year, my Voice colleague, Iain Roberts, reported the efforts of Lib Dem Cheadle MP Mark Hunter to ‘Save the Cheque‘, due to be phased out by October 2018.

Now his fellow Lib Dem MP David Ward (Bradford East) has joined the fray, this week introducing a 10 Minute Rule in the House of Commons to introduce a bill to save the cheque. You ca read the full text of his Commons speech here, and a brief excerpt here:

What have the Federation of Small Businesses, Age Concern, Help the Aged, Unite, Which?, Royal National Institute of Blind People, the Institute of Fund-raising and an EDM signed by 126 MPs from all parties, all have in common?

The answer is that they all have major reservations about the scrapping of cheques. This preferred method of payment is used by hundreds of thousands of people every single day. In fact the total number of cheques written out each day is close to 4m – that amounts to over 1.3bn in a year.

Yet, despite this very clear message that cheques are still valued by the customers of the major banks and other payment service providers, The Payments Council agreed last December on their behalf, to scrap cheques in 2018.

This decision will, I believe, have major ramifications. … This is not a Bill borne out of nostalgia for the past but for an acceptance of the present. This is not a bill to attack the independence of businesses but a bill to protect the rights of their customers. And this is not a Bill to condemn customers to an outdated method of carrying out financial transactions but a Bill to give all those carrying out such transactions greater choice about how they do so.

David’s bill was passed and now proceeds to its next stage; it is due to be debated in June next year.