The Payments Council has scrapped its plans to try and phase out cheques by 2018. This came after strong lobbying by the NFU to keep cheque books, with farmers using cheques to make almost 40% of payments and to receive more than 44% of payments.


Only three other small business organisations along with the NFU submitted evidence to the Treasury Select Committee, which was considering the Payments Council’s plans.

“Members’ comments and overwhelming support in completing the (NFU’s) banking survey were the critical factors in getting the voice of the farmers and small businesses heard,” said James Edwards, NFU economic advisor.

Any future alternative to cheques would need to be better in terms of ease of use and cost, he said. Availability of some alternative methods of payment, in particular those that are online, was limited in many rural areas of England.