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Today I spoke out about the need for citizens to be able to access their own cash free of charge. Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) which charge for cash withdrawals are completely unacceptable and punish those who are already on a tight budget.

LINK, the ATM membership body which sets the funding for free to use ATMs has cut funding for free to use ATMs leading to a loss of 221 such ATMs across Scotland between January and July 2018. There are now fewer than 6,000 free cash machines left in Scotland. This, alongside bank branch closures at the rate of 60 per month across the UK is simply unacceptable and constitutes serious financial and social exclusion, not to mention the challenges it poses for small businesses and our high streets.

It cannot be the case that banks force us onto online banking by abandoning our towns and then attempt to force us to live in a cashless society as well.

It is time the UK Government gave the Payment Systems Regulators more powers to that it can conduct its own review of LINK’s Financial Inclusion Programme. We need a robust future for free cash machines and this requires a sustainable, inclusive approach that works for all consumers.

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