2.2 million people in the UK rely almost entirely on cash to pay for things but, with the continuing closure of bank branches, it’s becoming harder and harder for people to access cash without paying for it.
At the beginning of this year, there were around 52,000 free-to-use cash machines in the UK. However, 1,700 machines began to charge fees in the first three months of 2019, with at least 1,250 introducing fees in March alone.
Locally, there are many areas without free cash points and I know this is an issue which particularly affects people on low incomes who can ill-afford to pay to access their own money. High street businesses, particularly smaller ones, also suffer when people aren’t able to access their money easily.
That’s why, last year, I backed a Parliamentary Bill that would allow local councils to designate streets in built up areas where banks would be required to provide free to use, 24/7 cash machines.
Along with other MPs, I’ve also now signed a joint letter that calls on the Government to intervene to better regulate ATM networks. I’m hopeful that we can keep this important issue on the agenda and keep making the case for change.