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Volume 531: debated on Wednesday 13 July 2011

We now move on to petitions. The first is from Teresa Pearce. She is not available, so we move on to Mr Nicholas Brown.

Abolition of Cheques

I should like to present a petition on behalf of my constituent Dr Helen Gilthorpe, declaring that the petitioners

are profoundly concerned by the proposed abolition of cheques.

It is accompanied by another petition in similar terms signed by some 60 of my constituents, many resident at the Abbeyfield care home in my constituency.

I know that the arguments for the retention of cheques are well understood by the House. The cheque is still the second largest means of payment by value in this country, and cheques are a convenient way of paying bills and making donations to charity. Some 46% of cheque use is by those aged 55 and over, and the campaign to keep the cheque is supported by groups ranging from Age UK to the Federation of Small Businesses. I understand that the Payments Council has announced the suspension of its proposal to abolish cheques, and I hope that it will take this petition as further support for that decision.

Following is the full text of the petition:

[The Petition of Dr H. Gilthorpe and others,

Declares that the Petitioners are profoundly concerned by the abolition of cheques.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to encourage the Payments Council to reverse the decision to abolish cheques and maintain them as a method of payment for the foreseeable future.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.]


EU Referendum

I have great pleasure in bringing to the House the first of what I think will be many, many thousand petitions coming over the next few months on the importance of and need for a referendum on this country’s membership of the European Union. As many Members know, there is a growing campaign on that across the country, and I am very pleased that I am able to bring along some signatures that were collected in a very short space of time at the weekend in my constituency and in Lambeth. I believe that we will be seeing a lot more of these petitions over the coming months, as people in this country finally wake up and start campaigning to get a referendum, which is greatly needed, on whether we should stay in or leave the European Union.

The petition states:

The Humble Petition of constituents from London and others,

Sheweth that the Petitioners believe that the Government should allow the British people a referendum on the United Kingdom’s continued membership of the European Union.

Wherefore your Petitioners pray that your Honourable House urges the Government to bring forward legislative proposals to allow the British people a referendum on the United Kingdom’s continued membership of the European Union.

And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray, &c.


Protection of Y Morfa (Prestatyn)

As a Welshman, Mr Deputy Speaker, you will be aware that y morfa is Welsh for marsh. Marshes are not ideal places to build, but nevertheless, some developers want to build on Y Morfa in Prestatyn, and the good people of Prestatyn are opposed to that.

The petition states:

The petition of residents of the Vale of Clwyd,

Declares that the petitioners support Chris Ruane MP’s call for Y Morfa, Prestatyn, Denbighshire to be protected from development in perpetuity; that the Petitioners regard it as important as a wetland area and wildlife habitat and the role it plays in protecting Prestatyn from flooding; and further declares that the Petitioners support Prestatyn and District Environmental Association’s proposal to have it designated green open space under the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Trust to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to strengthen measures to protect wetlands, public open space and areas at risk of flooding from future development.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


Development on the Riverside Gardens, Erith

I am extremely grateful, Mr Deputy Speaker.

I wish to present a petition on behalf of the members of the Friends of Riverside Gardens Erith group and other residents of the London borough of Bexley who support its campaign. The petitioners oppose plans by Bexley council to sell part of the Riverside gardens to developers, so that a tower block of flats can be built on the only riverside green space in Erith. The petitioners want the Riverside gardens to be designated as a town green, so that the only Thames riverside open space in Bexley is preserved, and they have my full support. The petition has 1,440 signatures.

The petition to the House of Commons states:

The Petition of residents of the London Borough of Bexley,

Declares that the petitioners oppose Bexley Council’s Erith Western Gateway plan to allow for blocks of flats to be built on part of the Riverside Gardens in Erith; that the Riverside Gardens were gifted to the people of Erith by the former coal company William Cory and Son for use by the local community; and that the Riverside Gardens should be designated a Town Green and protected as an open green space.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to allow for greater protection for green areas of particular importance to local communities in the Localism Bill, as outlined in his Department’s plan 2011-2015.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.