Local MP Richard Thomson has said a report published on the ‘Community Access to Cash’ pilot schemes represents a step forward to maintaining access to cash withdrawal facilities in local communities.
This week saw the publication of the final report of the Community Access to Cash Pilots and, following the recommendations of the report, the major financial institutions have agreed to protect access to cash in communities across the UK.
Welcoming the announcement, Richard Thomson MP said:
“This is a step forward in the campaign for maintaining access to cash in our local communities. Going forward, whenever a bank branch closes, LINK will assess the impact it will have on access to cash in the community and will determine whether new shared facilities such as free-to-use ATMs, cashback without a purchase, enhanced Post Offices or Shared Bank Hubs will be needed.
“The inclusion of Shared Bank Hubs is particularly significant and is an idea I have been saying for a while whose time has come.
“I have asked LINK to include the recent closures announced by TSB in this process and I am pleased to say they have readily agreed to that request.”
In a letter to Mr Thomson, LINK stated:
“From today, if any bank decides to close a branch it will have to share these plans with LINK in advance. For the first time, LINK will be able to analyse the combined impact of the changes on communities to determine if any new shared services are needed as a result.
Our assessment will take into account the size of the population, the number of shops in the area and the distance to the nearest bank branches and Post Offices. It will involve data analysis, site visits and engagement with local stakeholders, including MPs. If we recommend new services for a community we will instruct a new delivery body set up by the banks to put it in place.
“LINK has a strong track record of working with communities over several years to protect access to cash. While we understand that more people than ever are banking online or using alternative payment methods, there are over five million people in the UK who rely on cash or cannot use digital banking or payments. LINK’s role is to ensure everyone can still access cash for as long as it is needed, and for the first time we can now deploy a range of solutions, as well as ATMs.”