A local MP has urged the UK government to take urgent action to protect access to cash for people across the UK, as research reveals consumers spend a staggering £100 million a year just to withdraw their own money.
Ahead of the UK Budget in March, consumer group Which? has increased pressure on the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak to protect cash services – warning that current efforts to fix the problem “are doomed to fall desperately short.”
Link – the UK’s largest cashpoint network – also warned that the free cash system will collapse within two years unless the UK government urgently intervenes.
Locally, Ferguslie Park has seen cashpoints dwindle to just one free to use machine only open during the day. Outside of business hours, residents are forced to pay up to £1 to withdraw their own cash.
It’s a similar picture in Shortroods, with only one ATM for the area which charges 99p per transaction.
Since January 2018, around one in five free cashpoints have closed, while in Scotland communities had lost 204 free-to-use cash machines between 2018 – March 2019.
Gavin Newlands, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire North, said: “Access to free cash machines, local bank branches, and Post Office services are vital for consumers and small businesses across Scotland and the UK – however those services are closing at an alarming rate and with no substitute to deal with the impact.
“I’ve asked time and time again for Ferguslie Park, Shortroods and other communities affected by the closure of free cashpoints to be given protection by the UK Government, who regulate the big banks.
“Research by Which? has revealed that around 9,500 free to use cash machines have been lost in the last two years, while in Scotland communities had lost 204 free-to-use cash machines between 2018 – March 2019.
“The impact of those closures is being felt by consumers who are being forced to fork out a staggering £100m a year simply to withdraw their own money, while local businesses are facing hardship in accessing services.
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“The UK government can no longer sit on its hands and ignore the devastating impact this is having and the hit to peoples’ pockets.
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“The Chancellor must use next month’s budget to ensure access to free cash machines, and local banking and Post Office services, remain accessible and on the high street so that communities are not left behind.”