Waltham Forest Council has backed a Liberal Democrat campaign to ‘Save the Cheque’.

At Thursday’s (12 May) council meeting councillors voted for a motion which called on the banking industry’s Payments Council to halt its plans to abolish cheques.

Liberal Democrat Cann Hall councillor Liz Phillips, who proposed the motion said:

“Hundreds of thousands of people write cheques every day. Over a billion cheques are chased every year. Small businesses, charities and many residents – especially older people – rely on cheques to conduct their day-to-day transactions. It is wrong that the banks plan to abolish cheques when it is clear that people want to use them for years to come. I have had a massive response from Leytonstone residents who will be affected if cheques are abolished.”

The Liberal Democrats are particularly concerned about the effect on older people and the housebound. One local resident wrote to Liz Phillips:

“I write as a full time carer. My husband is very disabled and I can only get out four hours a week for shopping and all other things. How can I pay the bills without cheques?”

Internet payments are not an alternative for the nine million people in Britain who have never used the internet or for those who are concerned about internet fraud. The abolition of the cheque will lead to more people carrying and storing large quantities of cash, rendering them more vulnerable to theft.

Charities will also suffer. Lib Dem High Street councillor Mahmood Hussain, who seconded the motion, told councillors:

“As a trustee of a small local charity, 80% of the donations we receive during our fundraising come in by cheque. If cheques are abolished many small charities like mine will struggle.”

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