Treasury written question – answered on 30th March 2010.

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Photo of Hugo Swire Hugo Swire Chair, Speaker's Advisory Committee on Works of Art

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer

(1) whether he has had discussions with (a) pensioner groups and (b) other representatives of vulnerable people on proposals to end the cheque clearing system;

(2) what discussions he has had with the Payments Council on plans for alternative payment methods for cheque users should the cheque clearing system be ended.

Photo of Sarah McCarthy-Fry Sarah McCarthy-Fry Parliamentary Secretary, HM Treasury

The closure of cheque and credit clearing, the UK system that processes cheques, is a commercial decision for the Payments Council, an independent body that sets the strategy for UK payment systems, will take.

However, the Government recognise that certain groups (in particular the elderly, small businesses and the Third Sector) still value and are highly dependent on the cheque as a method of payment. We believe it is imperative that adequate alternatives are in place for all users of cheques, ahead of any potential closure of the cheque clearing system.

The Government have received representations on cheques directly from members of the public and Members of Parliament. Treasury officials are engaging with the Payments Council to ensure that the concerns of all cheque users are fully represented in any final decision to be taken in 2016 regarding the closure of the cheques clearing system.

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