Access to cash

Lanark and Hamilton East MP Angela Crawley has written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak calling for protections to maintain access to cash.

According to data from LINK – the UK’s largest ATM network – from August 2018 to December 2021, Lanark and Hamilton East saw 17 per cent of its free-to-use ATMs vanish.

Coupled with closures to local bank branches, people are now being forced to travel further for access to cash or are being forced to pay to withdraw their own money.

This week, the SNP MP has written to the Chancellor calling on the UK Government to bring forward planned legislation to protect access to cash as a matter of urgency.

In 2019, the Access to Cash Review highlighted the need for different government bodies and regulatory authorities to work together to ensure continuing access to cash.

Following this, the Treasury published a consultation document on access to cash in July 2021. Its proposals include granting the Treasury powers to require certain firms, such as retail banks, to guarantee deposit and withdrawal facilities for customers within certain distances. The Financial Conduct Authority would be responsible for monitoring and enforcing these requirements.

That consultation closed on 23 September 2021 but further information and the results have not yet been published.

Commenting, Lanark and Hamilton East MP Angela Crawley said:

“Access to cash is vital for people in Lanark and Hamilton East so the Chancellor must urgently bring forward measures that the UK Government have promised to implement.

“Several constituents have contacted me with concerns that they may lose access to their money or be forced to pay for withdrawing it and that is not acceptable.

“No one should be charged to access their own money but the loss of local bank branches and free-to-use ATMs is hurting the most vulnerable in our communities at a time when the cost of living is spiralling out of control.”