The Consumer Association, Which? Is highlighting the decline in access to cash and banking services across the UK and have compiled some interesting statistics about the number of closures around the country.
I was quite surprised and concerned to discover that almost 70% of bank branches and free-to-use ATMs have been closed down in our constituency, West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, since 2016.
Although in many cases digital payments are very convenient, right now there are still many people who are not ready to go completely cashless and I’m concerned that, the way it’s going, the ability to withdraw cash could be lost completely in some areas, forcing some to travel long distances to reach the nearest ATM.
This is likely to impact elderly, disabled and vulnerable people most, and local businesses could also have difficulties depositing their cash takings.
The UK government promised to maintain our access to cash in March 2020. However, legislation has still not yet been introduced.
We need the government to bring forward this legislation rapidly to protect access to cash and avoid the negative consequences which are likely to affect a largely rural constituency such as ours.