In Inverclyde, there has been a 52.5% drop-off in cash machine withdrawals as a result of ATMs converting from free to pay to use and the impact of Covid-19. This means there is potentially £11,291,778 less cash being withdrawn and spent in the local economy.
Today, I joined a cross-party group of 37 MPs, urging the government to bring forward promised action to protect access to cash as part of the COVID-19 recovery plans. A number of MPs have added their voice to calls from consumer groups and business organisations, urging the Chancellor to reverse the cuts made to the fee paid by banks to ensure their customers can access their own cash (known as the interchange fee).
I’ve been campaigning on the issue of Access to Cash since last year as in Inverclyde around 12 ATMs have become pay to access cash. This means in Inverclyde people are being charged up to £2, per transaction to access their own money from said machines.
Cash is a lifeline for millions and is a vital budgeting tool. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has brought this into stark realisation as many need others to food shop on their behalf while they self-isolate and as millions of people across the UK lose out on income.
HM Treasury could ensure the Payment System Regulator have the necessary powers to act over ATM provision and access to cash.