Geoff, you're right on many points.
First off, about checks: US readers will not know that the 'rules' for checks are quite different in the UK than here. In the UK, it's almost impossible to 'bounce' a check. Checks often circulate between businesses as if they were cash. A post-dated check is a common way to pay, and that check will circulate between businesses until the due date, when it will be presented -by anyone- to the bank for payment.
It's not like that at all in the USA. That the UK is moving away from checks is interesting.
Here, the taxman also frowns upon cash. Not only is the business at a much greater risk of an audit when it takes in a lot of cash business- it's almost impossible for the customer to 'write off' expenses unless there is some manner of paper proof.