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Volume 503: debated on Wednesday 13 January 2010

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment his Department has made of the potential effects of phasing out cheques by the end of 2018 on (a) levels of recorded income of small businesses and (b) levels of tax revenues from that income; and if he will make a statement. (310479)

The closure of Cheque and Credit Clearing is a commercial decision and one that the Payments Council, an independent body that sets the strategy for UK payment systems, will take. The Government, however, recognise that certain groups still value cheques as a significant method of payment.

Government believe it is imperative that adequate alternatives be in place for all users of cheques, including small businesses, the elderly and the Third Sector, ahead of any potential closure of the cheque clearing system.

As part of ongoing dialogue with stakeholders, the Council will seek to undertake further analysis with regards to the effects of closing the cheque system on all users.