Residents asked to 'cheque' out different payment methods

North Tyneside Council is changing the way residents can pay for services.

From March 21, the council is asking people who use its four Customer First Centres or its Cobalt Business Park HQ to pay for services to stop doing so by cheque.

Instead, they are asked to pay via direct debit, using a debit or credit card or with cash.

The move is set to save the council thousands of pounds as each cheque costs the local authority £1.68 to process, on average.

Cllr Ray Glindon, cabinet member for Finance and Resources, said: “We hope this won’t cause too much inconvenience, but with huge reductions in funding for local authorities, we must look at different ways we can save money.

“Our school meals service went cheque-free last year – reducing the amount of cheques we receive annually by a staggering 24,000 and saving around £40,000 in processing costs – and now we’re extending this to our Customer First Centres and our headquarters.

“Customers can continue to pay with cash, debit or credit cards at these locations and over the telephone.

“We’re also encouraging people to do more online by using our secure website. Paying online also gives people greater flexibility; they can do it at a time that suits them and without having to queue.”

The four Customer First Centres are located in Wallsend, Whitley Bay, North Shields and Killingworth.